It’s that time of year when NFL fans who don’t live in their favorite team’s market search for ways to watch on Sundays. Whether it’s a Steelers fan living in Seattle or a Giants fan in Arizona, traveling to a bar or restaurant can get expensive. Another option is to sign up for NFL Sunday Ticket with DirecTV. DirecTV will pay $1.5 billion a year for the next eight years for Sunday Ticket exclusivity. DirecTV uses its Sunday Ticket distribution deal to sell its carrier subscriptions, but last year more fans were able to purchase Sunday Ticket through a digital only option. This year DirecTV offers the same option, just with a catch.
Sunday Ticket digital is available, but only if fans can’t purchase DirecTV. That could be because of multiple reasons — no place to put a satellite, lack of signal, students on a campus are examples — but if someone’s neighbor has DirecTV, there is a good chance the digital-only option for Sunday Ticket isn’t available. Anyone in a multi-unit structure has a strong chance of gaining access, as we used some addresses for a quick, non-scientific study and found apartment dwellers generally have eligibility, according to DirecTV’s website.
This may change in the future — especially with the AT&T merger finally passing — but for now DirecTV decided attracting additional subscribers is more important than the ancillary income of cord cutters. It isn’t like the DirecTV website is hiding it either. The disclaimer lays out exactly who is and who is not eligible.
DirecTV also made a heavy marketing push for its Max package this week, which gives fans Red Zone, Fantasy and mobile access. Not much has changed from the price points and offerings pointed out last year. However, if fans want strictly digital access, they’d better live in an apartment complex, not have access to DirecTV or be a student.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.