What does the DIRECTV-Amazon deal mean for NFL Sunday tickets?

TV Answer Man, Amazon’s deal with DIRECTV tells me Amazon gets the NFL Sunday Ticket contract. What do you think? And do you think they will continue the Thursday night football deal for the Sunday ticket? Looks like it’s the start of a bigger deal. — Todd, Richmond, Virginia.

Todd, as you know, DIRECTV and Amazon yesterday announced a multi-year agreement that will see the satellite broadcaster deliver Thursday night football broadcasts to more than 300,000 bars, restaurants, hotel lounges and other places of business. .

Since Amazon secured Thursday Night Football’s exclusive streaming game starting this season, bar and restaurant owners have expressed concern that their establishments aren’t equipped to stream the games online. However, DIRECTV has been supply of NFL Sunday Ticket games to bars and restaurants for over two decades, a well-regarded service in the industry. The satcaster should be able to stream Amazon games without difficulty.

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Some football fans might be tempted to conclude that Amazon licensed the bar/restaurant business to DIRECTV because they know they are getting the Sunday ticket and will need a similar arrangement for this ticket package. which includes several games at the same time. However, there is no evidence that the Amazon-DIRECTV deal has anything to do with the Ticket contest. (Amazon is battling Apple, Google and Disney for the contract starting in 2023. DIRECTV’s current exclusivity for the ticket expires after the 2022 season.)

However, the Amazon-DIRECTV deal would certainly increase the chances that DIRECTV could sign a similar sub-licensing agreement with the streaming company that gets the Ticket deal. If Amazon has concluded that it can’t effectively deliver one game per week to bars and restaurants, you’d think any streaming company would be horrified to try to deliver multiple games at the same time every Sunday. DIRECTV’s long-running bar and restaurant is the obvious solution to this problem.

Of course, Apple or Google might be willing to forgo the bar and restaurant business, though I suspect the NFL wouldn’t approve. (The league wants to expand Ticket’s audience, not shrink it.)

It’s also uncertain whether the winning ticket company would be willing to allow DIRECTV to sell the ticket in areas with restricted streaming, a scenario that has been hinted at in news reports and by unnamed sources. DIRECTV’s nearly three decades of experience running a satellite television company gives it expert insight into areas inside zip codes that aren’t Internet-enabled. The streaming company could expand its Ticket audience by allowing DIRECTV to offer Ticket in those select areas.

Bottom line: We won’t know until we do. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said a decision may not be made until the end of the year. But bar and restaurant owners must be feeling better today about their Sunday ticket deals after this season.

Todd, I hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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Herman C. Harkins