DirecTV Reportedly Close to NFL Sunday Ticket Extension

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

The satellite TV giant would retain exclusive rights to the popular football package into the next decade

DirecTV and the NFL are nearing an extension of their deal for the NFL Sunday Ticket package that would keep it exclusively available to subscribers of the satellite TV giant, Sports Business Journal reported on Monday.

The report said that under the broad outlines of a new deal, the average annual rights fee will rise from $1 billion under the current four-year contract, which is set to end after this coming season, to $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion under the new deal. It is expected to run through 2021 or 2022.

Sports Business Journal reported that the the satellite TV giant and the league have reached a broad agreement on pricing and duration.

DirecTV has offered the NFL Sunday Ticket since 1994. Cable operators, satellite TV competitor Dish and such online firms as Google and Yahoo have often been mentioned as possible competitors for the sports package.

DirecTV CEO Mike White has repeatedly expressed confidence in a new deal but also said it would have to come at reasonable financial terms. On a recent earnings conference call, he said: “I remain very confident that we will have an exclusive deal completed for the service by the end of this year.”

The longer running time of the new deal would bring Sunday Ticket in sync with the NFL’s other TV deals. ESPN’s current arrangement runs through the 2021 season, with CBS, Fox and NBC deals going into 2022.

Sunday Ticket shows regular season NFL games unavailable on local TV stations, offering all regional Sunday afternoon games produced by Fox and CBS. DirecTV has offered the package exclusively to its subscribers on its pay TV service, as well as online and on certain mobile devices.

A DirecTV spokesman declined to comment. A representative for the NFL said discussions continue.

Twitter: @georgszalai