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

Strong aerial attack lifts Seattle past Pittsburgh

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) celebrates after scoring on a 63-yard touchdown reception next to wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Carolina Panthers in Seattle, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.

Jermaine Kearse caught two touchdowns, while Doug Baldwin caught three, including an 80-yard catch-and-run score with 2:01 left after Pittsburgh had trimmed Seattle's lead to 32-30.

in Local Sports

Jimmy Graham suffers patellar tendon injury in win over Pittsburgh


Graham was hurt with 13:36 left in the fourth quarter after trying to grab a deep pass in the end zone from Russell Wilson.

in Sports

Kobe Bryant says he will retire at end of 2015-16 season

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, left, talks with head coach Byron Scott, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. Los Angeles won 112-110.

The 37-year-old Bryant made the announcement in a post on The Players' Tribune on Sunday

in Sports

Heat check: College coaching carousel turns into roller coaster

LSU head coach Les Miles watches from the sideline in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Florida in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. LSU won 17-6.

This coaching carousel is more like a roller coaster and this weekend there was enough action to make those trying to keep up dizzy.

in Local Sports

Former Lynden star Bryce Sterk wins Husky football award

Lynden Lion Bryce Sterk (72) makes a tackle against Sedro Woolley in the 2A State Championship game. Dec. 6, 2014 
Photo Credit: Brandon Naff

Sterk was given the "Ultimate Dirt Dawg" award for his work in the weight room.