If You Have This Popular TV Provider, Prepare to Lose Access to Football
You'll need to look into other options to ensure you can catch the big game.
Football season is in full swing, and fans are tuning in every Sunday to watch their favorite team. Games are also a staple at Thanksgiving celebrations, playing in the background while you're carving the turkey—and when you take that necessary post-meal nap. But if you have one TV provider, you'll lose your ability to stream certain National Football League (NFL) games in the near future. Read on to find out which popular provider is axing access.
There have been ongoing negotiations between TV providers and media groups.
Unfortunately, TV providers are constantly threatening to give channels and packages the boot.
Last month, Verizon issued a warning about its Fios TV service. The provider's contract with Nexstar Media Group, Inc. ended on Oct. 14, and the two were negotiating a new agreement, Variety reported. Prospects initially looked grim due to pricing disputes, but the two companies were able to reach a multi-year distribution agreement, according to an Oct. 28 press release. The announcement confirmed that Verizon Fios subscribers would still have access to NewsNation and NewsNation HD, both of which are national channels.
Also in October, those with Altice USA's Optimum cable service were at risk of losing all of Fox's networks, according to Variety. Similar to Nexstar and Verizon, the two companies were entrenched in discussions over a new contract. Thankfully, an agreement was reached here as well, preventing a potential content blackout for Optimum subscribers in the New York area, Deadline reported.
The latest predicament, however, has several providers battling over the right to stream football.
An exclusive package is being removed.
The NFL Sunday Ticket has been a mainstay on DirecTV for the last 28 years. The exclusive streaming package airs live out-of-market games on football Sundays, according to CableTV.com, making it a great option if your team's games aren't typically on your regional CBS or Fox channel—or if you're just a football fanatic.
After the 2022-2023 football season, however, DirecTV's rights to NFL Sunday Ticket will end, and in a July interview with CNBC, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that the package will be moving to a streaming service.
DirecTV requires customers to sign up for its pay-TV service in order to access NFL Sunday Ticket, but Goodell noted that many people don't subscribe to "traditional pay TV" anymore, so taking the package to a streaming service could potentially expand its reach, per CNBC.
"We really believe these new platforms give us an ability to innovate where we are today," Goodell told the outlet. "It obviously makes it more available to our consumers, particularly the younger demographic, which is one that we really want to get to. I think this will make it more accessible for fans. I think it will be a better experience for fans."
There are a few key sticking points.
Three hard hitters in the streaming world—Disney, Apple, and Amazon—submitted their bids for broadcast rights over the summer, CNBC reported, with DirecTV sitting this round out. In October, the outlet reported that Apple had emerged as the frontrunner, thanks to its existing broadcast deals with both Disney and Amazon.
In July, Goodell confirmed that he wanted to choose the new provider for Sunday Ticket by this fall, but a deal has yet to be struck. Even though Apple TV is still leading the pack, negotiations between the company and the NFL are at a standstill, according to Sportsnaut, citing Daniel Kaplan's reporting for The Athletic.
This is partly attributed to the asking price for the package, as the NFL is reportedly looking to make as much as $3.5 billion annually—a stark increase from the $1.5 billion DirecTV has been paying since 2015. Per Kaplan's reporting, Apple isn't going for that number, as it would need nearly 8.75 million new subscribers to purchase the package for $400 to turn a profit. (DirecTV is currently estimated to have roughly 1 million subscribers.)
Apple has also taken issue with the fact that NFL Sunday Ticket can't air the broadcasts that CBS and Fox have exclusive rights to, and the current pricing doesn't include international broadcasts, according to 9to5Mac.
"This negotiation has gotten silly … Clearly, there's a problem," a source told Kaplan. "I think it's really clear Apple is learning things they didn't know. What the conversation is, is Apple's like, 'OK, we can't sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can't sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.'"
A final decision has yet to be made.
While deals are still being discussed, many are wondering when a new partner will be announced. Hopes are high that we'll know ahead of the Super Bowl in Feb. 2023, but Sportsnaut reports that the current lack of progress could push that date back yet again.
Either way, if you have DirecTV and rely on NFL Sunday Ticket, you'll need to make other arrangements before the 2023-2024 football season comes around.