For more than two decades, DirecTV was the exclusive home of the National Football League’s (NFL) out-of-market Sunday football package, NFL Sunday Ticket. Now, it wants new DirecTV customers to get a taste of that action, even with the package moving to Google’s YouTube service.
Starting this week, new customers who sign up for DirecTV and who separately sign up for the NFL Sunday Ticket package through YouTube (and not YouTube TV) will receive a $400 Visa reward card to cover some of the cost of the package.
Earlier this year, YouTube and its premium cable replacement YouTube TV were awarded the exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, which offers live and on-demand access to Sunday morning and afternoon games aired on CBS and Fox stations beyond a person’s home area.
On its own, the NFL Sunday Ticket costs $450 per season when purchased through YouTube Primetime Channels, or $490 if purchased with NFL RedZone. Currently, YouTube is offering customers a $50 discount if they sign up for NFL Sunday Ticket before mid-September.
Customers who take advantage of the DirecTV deal could essentially have their entire NFL Sunday Ticket bill covered for this season — but there is some fine print that goes along with the offer.
First, it seems like DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket deal is only available for new customers. And those new customers have to be willing to commit to a 24-month contract — which means it will likely only be available to those who are willing to sign up for DirecTV’s satellite service, and not DirecTV Stream (the streaming service typically doesn’t have a contract), although the fine print is a bit iffy on this one (it might be available to DirecTV Stream customers, too, if they’re willing to commit to a contract).
Second, DirecTV makes it clear that their special offer is not endorsed by the NFL or YouTube, which might be why the company is offering a Visa rewards card to cover some (or all, if bought before mid-September) of the cost of the NFL Sunday Ticket package, rather than offering a direct deal like Verizon and some other companies are doing.
Third, new DirecTV customers who agree to a 24-month contract must sign up for NFL Sunday Ticket through YouTube and provide proof of that purchase to DirecTV in order to get the $400 Visa rewards card. It could take three billing cycles — or around three months — to get the card, which means new customers probably should only take advantage of the deal if they are willing to cover the cost of NFL Sunday Ticket in whole for a few weeks while they wait for that Visa card to come through.
And there’s one other issue: At the moment, DirecTV is engaged in a heated battle with Nexstar Media Group, the largest independent owner of broadcast stations in the country, which has resulted in more than 160 local TV channels being blacked out on DirecTV satellite and DirecTV Stream since early July.
The situation means customers living in large parts of the country likely will not have access to one or more ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC stations in their local area if they switch to DirecTV, until the situation with Nexstar is resolved. If the local CBS or Fox affiliate is owned by Nexstar, that means no locally-televised games on those stations until the situation is resolved. It also means customers in areas where Nexstar owns the local NBC affiliate won’t get Sunday Night Football, either, and some viewers who live in areas where Nexstar owns the ABC affiliate won’t see simulcasts of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” when their local team is scheduled to play.
That situation is easily resolved for most customers by installing an antenna, which allows viewers to receive major broadcast networks for free. But for those who live in rural areas, far away from a TV transmission tower, or where terrain makes satellite a more-reliable way of receiving a signal than an antenna, the situation between DirecTV and Nexstar could prove to be problematic for football fans who truly want access to every game this season.
That said, the situation could be resolved well before the start of football season — it’s really hard to know in cases like these, because so much of the process isn’t transparent. Still, DirecTV’s willingness to cover the cost of NFL Sunday Ticket when purchased through YouTube and with a 24-month commitment might still be a good prospect for some.
To lear more about DirecTV’s offer for NFL Sunday Ticket through YouTube, click or tap here.