News

NFL, DirecTV agree to Sunday Ticket deal

NFL, DirecTV agree to Sunday Ticket deal

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?: The NFL and DirecTV will again offer the Sunday Ticket package. Photo: Reuters

By Ronald Grover and Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) – The National Football League and DirecTV have agreed on a framework for negotiations to renew the satellite TV operator’s contract to offer the popular NFL Sunday Ticket football package the company uses to attract subscribers, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks.

The two sides “are still in material negotiations,” but extended their exclusive negotiating period to work through the remaining issues, according to one of the people. The talks might still not result in an agreement.

A contract that renews DirecTV’s exclusive deal would give the satellite operator a key marketing advantage over cable operators. Cable companies sought a deal in 2009, but DirecTV ended up renewing its agreement with the NFL for four years.

The current DirecTV offer allows subscribers to watch football games outside of their local markets on Sundays. The exclusive package, which costs subscribers up to $300 a year, is an important tool for DirecTV to attract subscribers and the company has said about 2 million people receive the service.

Investors and analysts have been watching closely to see whether DirecTV would renew the Sunday Ticket contract with the NFL, estimated to be worth $1 billion annually. The current agreement is due to expire at the end of the 2014-15 season, meaning there is one year left to go under the previous terms.

“We don’t comment on speculation,” DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri said. Alex Riethmiller, the NFL’s vice-president for communications, said “we are still in negotiations.”

Any agreement still needs approval by DirecTV’s board of directors and the NFL team owners, said the people, and will not be announced until the first or second quarter of 2014. In 2009, the owners announced the contract extension at the NFL annual meeting.

DirecTV CEO Mike White said at the company’s investor day on Thursday that, “we’ve had very constructive conversations with the NFL but it’s complex. I’m very optimistic we will get an exclusive deal done on NFL Sunday Ticket.”

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Bells Never Find Footing Against Falcons

bellingham bells pcl logo generic 3

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning, the Kelowna Falcons never looked back and beat the Bellingham Bells 8-1 Saturday night.

in Local Sports

Kah scores 2 goals to lead Vancouver past Seattle, 3-0 

seattle sounders fc logo on ball

Pa-Modou Kah surpassed his MLS career goal total by scoring twice

in Local Sports

Suzuki’s RBI single in 9th lifts Twins past Mariners, 3-2

minnesota twins logo

Kurt Suzuki hit the winning RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning

in Sports

Kershaw extends scoreless streak to 37 innings

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw sits in the dugout before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Kershaw (9-6) struck out seven, walked none and retired his last 15 batters while working on eight days' rest.

in Sports

NBA’s current, former stars put on show in Africa exhibition

NBA Africa 1

The game got serious in the second half: Chris Paul's Team World rallied to beat Luol Deng's Team Africa 101-97.