AT&T no longer owns DirecTV but it has agreed to pay up to $2.1 billion for losses resulting from its NFL Sunday Ticket contract. AT&T agreed to spin off its pay TV businesses to TPG in a deal valued at $15 billion in February. The deal closed in August. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AT&T described how it was treating some aspects of the separation from a financial and accounting perspective.
The U.S. Supreme Court won’t review an antitrust case that could have outsized influence on the future of the television industry. On Monday, the high court announced it wouldn’t be hearing National Football League v. Ninth Inning, a lawsuit against the professional football league that challenges how teams currently pool telecast rights and collectively negotiate a licensing package for out-of-market games. The antitrust dispute could shake up live sports broadcasting.
DirecTV has quietly begun selling a streaming version of the NFL Sunday Ticket to any non-DirecTV subscriber in 29 select markets. The 29 markets include the home cities for 26 of the 32 NFL teams.
DirecTV outraged a number of customers who are being deprived of their NFL Sunday Ticket streaming. The service acknowledged the problem in a tweet shortly after noon yesterday. “We are aware that some customers may be experiencing streaming issues with NFL Sunday Ticket. We are working to fix as quickly as possible.”
AT&T COO John Stankey questions the growth potential of the football package; says the longtime cornerstone could be “less critical to the business over time.”
Five plaintiffs who have purchased Sunday Ticket from DirecTV have filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL and its teams, as well as DirecTV, CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC, claiming that exclusive distribution agreements have driven up the cost of pro football telecasts in violation of antitrust law.
The fourth class action lawsuit over Sunday NFL Ticket in the past two month alleges that NFL teams are colluding with each other to grant the NFL the exclusive right to market games outside each team’s home market.The TV market would be quite different if it were not for live professional football, the lawsuit says.
The National Football League and DirecTV have extended the satcaster’s exclusive rights to carry NFL Sunday Ticket and its package of every Sunday afternoon out-of-market games through a new multi-year agreement worth an estimated $1.5 billion annually over eight years.
The NFL is on the verge of a deal with DirecTV for its Sunday Ticket package that will see its average annual rights fee increase to between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion over the next decade. Though several issues still need to be ironed out, a broad agreement has been reached on the price and length of a deal, according to multiple sources.
Dish Network’s head of product management says the satellite TV company would be interested in bidding on the rights to broadcast the National Football League’s Sunday games if rival DirecTV fails to renew its deal. NFL Sunday Ticket has been offered only on DirecTV since 1994, and the two sides are negotiating exclusively to renew the $4 billion agreement, which expires at the end of this year. The deal is so critical that AT&T in its agreement to acquire DirecTV, retained the right to back out of the deal if the contract with the NFL isn’t renewed
Looking to generate subscribers for its NFL Sunday Ticket, DirecTV is serving as the exclusive sponsor of the new Sports On Earth site for its first month. The deal includes display ads throughout the site and a presence on the front of the USA Today sports section.