NFL fans have long lamented the exclusivity agreement between the league and DirecTV to air the “Sunday Ticket” package of games not aired locally. But in a recent conference, DirecTV CFO Pat Doyle suggested to investors that the package may become available to other cable operators as early as 2015 (via The Hollywood Reporter).Doyle was asked about the possibility of renewing DirecTV’s deal with the NFL in the face of rising costs to broadcast sporting events. He responded by saying that the company was willing to sign a non-exclusivity deal, or even abandon the package all-together if the price rose too much.
In 2009, DirecTV signed an extension that pays the NFL $1 billion per year starting in 2011 and going through the 2014 season. And in recent years, DirecTV has used the package as a device to lure new customers by either offering the NFL package at a discount or no cost to new subscribers in their first year.
But at some point, DirecTV must realise that the number of people willing (or able) to switch to DirecTV satellite dishes just to watch more football games on Sunday will reach saturation. And as long as DirecTV keeps a share of the package, there is little fear that DirecTV will lose many customers.
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