In an analyst meeting this past week, where AT&T was discussing their acquisition of DirecTV, the subject of NFL Sunday Ticket was brought up as "a cornerstone of future product-bundle offerings it can market to its customers" according to sources at the Wall Street Journal. They even went as far as suggesting that streaming NFL games would not count against any data caps.

If you're not familiar with the NFL Sunday Ticket service, it's an offering from DirecTV that streams out-of-market NFL games live to subscribing customers. It's a pretty popular service, with about 20 million current subscribers. It's also the sort of thing AT&T would love to use to gain customers, so any attempt to get licensing for the mobile version to be in AT&T's favor is not surprising.

Things aren't there just yet, though. DirecTV's rights only cover streaming to paying satellite customers, and negotiations may fall flat. If that's the case, the whole deal with DirecTV may get the axe, according to AT&T's 8-K filing.

In the event that DIRECTV's agreement for the "NFL Sunday Ticket" service is not renewed substantially on the terms discussed between the parties, the Company may elect not to consummate the Merger, but the Company will not have a damages claim arising out of such failure so long as DIRECTV used its reasonable best efforts to obtain such renewal.

There is a lot of money to be made here, and we're pretty sure all parties want a little piece of it. It's worth keeping an eye on, for sure.

Source: WSJ

There are 36 comments

TheIowaKid says:

Give us Chromecast support too and it would be icing on the cake.

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jdevenberg says:

The part of me that loves football wants this so bad (seeing as I'm on AT&T) but the part of me that loves openness in software hates it. I'm not sure if I want this to happen or not!
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savdini says:

What the hell does that comment even mean?

Nexus 4 - CM10.1.3

jdevenberg says:

That I would rather have the app and service be available on all Android devices than tied to AT&T service. I do not think that content should be tied to a specific service provider, but be available to anyone willing to shell out the cash for it. But I want football on my phone and am an AT&T subscriber, so I get it either way.

brendilon says:

Amen dude. Same boat.

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Impulses says:

Run roh... It'd be pretty amusing if the whole deal falls thru over the rights to Sunday Ticket. Content rules tho, so they've got the leverage here on AT&T.

Samsmalls says:

If millions of others enjoy Sunday's in September as I do, and AT&T plans to foot the bill for hours of streaming to mobile devices... That's gotta be a large about of data. Perhaps they could afford unlimited data once again, or maybe raise data caps, or possibly lift overage fees, or even lower data plan prices! Nahhh

gtg465x says:

Haha, so naive. AT&T won't be footing the bill for it, you will. Nowhere in the article do I see anything about them offering all of this for free. It just says they'll be offering it. Probably for $20 extra per month on top of your current plan or something.

savdini says:

I mean, that only makes sense. Why would they give it away for free?

Nexus 4 - CM10.1.3

Probably MORE than an extra $20!

mwara244 says:

More than $20. the sports packages on ATT Uverse ore more expensive than the movie packages. They have like 20 channels dedicated to each sport of MLB, and NBA, it'll probably be at least $60+ a month

Flyer00 says:

"They even went as far as suggesting that streaming NFL games would not count against any data caps."

Isn't this a violation of net neutrality? Why should football games not count against the cap when baseball games do?

Synycalwon says:

Even if this were to happen, I wouldn't switch to AT&T wireless. Their coverage isn't as good as Verizon where I live. Even if it were, I'd be crazy to give up Verizon grandfathered unlimited data for anything.

On that note; I wonder how Verizon being a major partner of the NFL will affect any Sunday Ticket deal?

nkd says:

To be honest, Unlimited data really boils down to value for your money. If you use it to an extent that you do everything on your phone and have no internet or tv, then I get it. For me I had it but its not worth it to me paying 100 extra dollars a month on my bill with multiple lines. It just boils down to what has more value to you. I am on 10gb plan we use around 8 average and 9 max over the last 6 months with 6 lines.

Synycalwon says:

Understood. Even though I don't use it in that way, as a single user account there is NO cost savings in voluntarily giving up unlimited data. Actually the opposite (my costs would increase for less data), so it makes no sense to give it up for any reason! Instead, they'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands!

Dizfunctions says:

While this grouping may work out in some consumers' favor, this could also be indicative of AT&T willing to bundle Mobile with Iyer goods to force you to buy packages with stuff you don't need.

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I hate sprint, I want to AT&T!

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savdini says:

I switched from Sprint. Best thing I ever did. Cheaper, faster, better coverage.. No more unlimited data, but I never was able to even use it before. 10 gb is more than enough now for my wife and I.

Nexus 4 - CM10.1.3


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J0HNGALT says:

This is a great example of why net neutrality, by force of law, should be rejected.

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gtg465x says:

Um, no? Without net neutrality, carriers have more incentive to keep data caps low and "allow" extra data only for services you or the service company pay them for instead of just raising or eliminating data caps like they should be.

AT&T is in a position to acquire content and content companies, not count their own content towards your data use, and put every other content company that isn't under them or paying them out of business. And once all of the other content companies are out of business, they'll be free to raise prices into oblivion and you'll have no choice but to pay up or get nothing. How is that good for anyone?

Except that this has nothing to do with net neutrality. If AT&T owns the content, they can sell it however they want.

Net neutrality is about not allowing an ISP to discriminate against a content provider, either because the ISP offers competing content or because the ISP wants the content provider to pay them to be able to reach their customers. An example may make the point. One of the products that is part of AT&T U-verse is their voice service. Now, can you subscribe to that service if you're on another ISP (Charter, for example)? No, because AT&T will not sell it to you unless you're on U-verse. This is NOT a net neutrality issue, since AT&T owns the voice service and has itself decided who it will and won't sell it to. Now let's suppose that AT&T wants to sell it to you, but Charter blocks it because it (Charter) wants you to subscribe to Charter's voice service. That is most definitely a net neutrality violation, since charter, as the ISP, is interfering with the data crossing its network in order to put its voice service at an advantage.

cgardnervt says:

Waste of Damn time. Give me NHL instead.

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yankeesusa says:

You and the other 10 people who watch nhl? Just kidding.

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bkosh84 says:

Bahahaha, you actually think The Shield is going to give up their NFL Sunday Ticket to just anyone for free? Either AT&T will have too pony up some MASSIVE dough for the NFL to do offer that, of AT&T Customers are going to have to pay for it.

cowboys2000 says:

Doesn't Verizon already have NFL Mobile with streaming of Thursday, Sunday and Monday Games (all under MNF name)? Verizon charges $10 a month for this and it uses your data.

I can see ATT making games "available", but at a cost (such as using your data allotment, having to be on a shared data plan, and a monthly fee).

Mergers don't happen to give more to customers, it's to generate revenue and profits.

that will likely come to an end if this is all shakes out. no way at&t is going to play nice with verizon when you're talking about the cash cow that is the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. go new york football giants.

jackdubl says:

Verizon charges only $5/month for the service.

2jjordan12 says:

Correct except it is now $5 dollars a month

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Ed_Grohl says:

Anyone who thinks this would be free is kidding themselves. It's $40 per month on DTV as it is. That does include mobile/online access.

mattopotamus says:

Redzone is way better than sunday ticket. I just hope that AT&T's acquisition of directv leads to better picture quality. Directv has the best and uverse is easily the worst.

IF At&t were to count each game towards the Data cap, even 1 game would kill you on the overages/penalties...

Anyone seriously considering jumping to directv should let me know. We offer serious discounts on all new customers for a limited time only.

gonecks1 says:

Im all for it as long as it lowers my "6 easy payments of $54.99" I currently pay for the ticket and ability to stream.

Heisenberg says:

Why does everyone assume that people would want this to stream games using cellular data? The point is that AT&T customers would be able to get a subscription to the Sunday ticket and most likely red zone and be able to stream it at home and things like Chromecast and Apple TV. It's not going to be limited to use only on small phones and tablets with cellular data usage.