NFL Sunday Ticket
NFL Sunday Ticket is an out-of-market sports package that broadcasts National Football League (NFL) regular season games unavailable on local affiliates. It carries all regional Sunday afternoon games produced by Fox and CBS. The ideal customer of this package is presumed (based on advertisements) to be a fan of a team who is unable to see their team on local television because they do not reside in one of that team's markets. The package is distributed in the United States exclusively by AT&T Inc. under its DirecTV unit (which also offers it on the Internet, on certain tablets and smartphones, and JetBlue Airways flights); in Canada on several satellite and cable providers, in Mexico and Latin America on SKY México, in South America and the Caribbean on DirecTV Latin America, and several cable providers in The Bahamas and Bermuda.
Satellite TV provider DirecTV has had exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package in the United States until the end of the 2022–23 NFL season. Although other satellite and cable providers supposedly are allowed to bid on the rights to carry NFL Sunday Ticket if they agree to carry the NFL Network, DirecTV decided to extend their current contract beyond 2014 by paying the NFL $1.5 billion per year for the next eight years. Reaching the deal was also a condition of AT&T's 2015 acquisition of DirecTV As of the 2015 season, the service is now available through an online-only subscription exclusively for those who are unable to use DirecTV services.
NFL Sunday Ticket viewers do not count towards local Nielsen ratings; thus offering NFL Sunday Ticket on cable might cost CBS and Fox affiliates millions of dollars in lost revenue from local commercial breaks (as opposed to national ads sold by the networks). In turn, affiliates help subsidize the networks' programming costs. Since the launch of new satellites, DirecTV no longer drops other HD feeds to broadcast the NFL Sunday Ticket games in HD. DirecTV offers a free preview of NFL Sunday Ticket for the first week of the season.
If a game the viewer wishes to watch is blacked out in their home market because it's not sold out, the game remains blacked out on NFL Sunday Ticket. Any other game televised locally is also blacked out (viewers must watch them instead on their local Fox or CBS affiliates). Games joined or switched away from in progress usually have their blackout status altered immediately. The NFL has suspended the local blackout policy for the 2015 NFL regular season.
DirecTV offers the following extra features. From 2005–09 these features were part of an add-on package called Superfan and cost $100 extra. As of 2012, some of them are part of the NFL Sunday Ticket Max package which costs an extra $100.
Since 2009, all games have been in high definition. The HD games were formerly part of the Superfan package.
- Game Mix
This channel shows eight games at once, along with the game's score, time left in the game, and the quarter that the game is in under the game's feed. Starting in 2008, it added a high-definition feed, and in 2011, it added larger cells when four or fewer games are being played.
- Red Zone Channel
This channel acts as a viewer's "remote control" and switches around various NFL games as plays of interest occur (scoring plays, key turnovers, etc.) The coverage is hosted by NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano and has been offered on some airlines, such as JetBlue. As of 2012, it is only available on the new NFL Sunday Ticket Max package.
As of the 2007 season, this channel is provided in HD.
Note: This is not to be confused with the Scott Hanson-hosted NFL RedZone, which is produced separately by NFL Network. That channel airs at the same time on Dish Network, various cable systems, and also on Verizon Wireless smartphones.
- Short Cuts
This two-channel duo recaps every NFL game in 30 minutes or less, including games not available on NFL Sunday Ticket because they were televised locally or blacked out. One channel shows AFC games while the other shows NFC games. These highlights are made available on Sunday nights and are shown continuously until Tuesday morning. As of 2012, it is only available on the new NFL Sunday Ticket Max package.
- Highlights on Demand
DirecTV subscribers with interactive DVRs receive a three- to four-minute recap of every NFL Sunday Ticket game on demand with this feature, via channel 1005. As of 2012, it is only available on the new NFL Sunday Ticket Max package.
- NFL.com Fantasy Football TV app
Starting in 2011, the NFL.com Fantasy Football TV app will allow NFL.com fantasy players with Internet connected set-top boxes to view their NFL.com Fantasy Football teams and scores directly on their TV screen.
Computers, tablets and smartphones
NFL Sunday Ticket Max subscribers can also stream games on the Internet and their smartphones and tablets. Starting in 2009, NFL Sunday Ticket To Go is also available to non-DirecTV subscribers who are unable to receive satellite television in their homes or apartments due to line of sight issues. The cost is $50 more than those with DirecTV service. DirecTV offers NFL Sunday Ticket To Go on Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy tablets; Motorola Android phones; the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry OS devices with 3G or wifi, Palm Pre/Pixi, and other Droid-branded phones.
Starting on October 3, 2010, DirecTV began offering the full slate of NFL Sunday Ticket games on JetBlue Airways flights to 50 destinations across the United States.
The concept of NFL Sunday Ticket was largely invented by Jon Taffer during his three-year term on the board of NFL Enterprises, along with NFL Chief of Marketing Michael Miller. NFL Sunday Ticket was launched in 1994 and was available on both DirecTV (which had launched just months earlier) and on C-band and Ku-band satellites, for which the receiving dishes are larger in size. Within several years, the service became available on various cable systems in Canada as well.
NFL Sunday Ticket is also available in Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Bermuda and The Bahamas.
In Canada, NFL Sunday Ticket has been made available on a non-exclusive basis to the following satellite and cable providers:
- Shaw Cable
- Shaw Direct
- TELUS Optik TV
- TELUS Satellite TV
- Bell TV
- Access Communications
- Cogeco Cable
- EastLink Cable
- Rogers Cable
- Westman Communications
The lack of exclusivity for any provider is due to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations.
México and Central America
South America and Caribbean
This section requires expansion. (March 2009)
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- DirecTV Information on blackouts on NFL Sunday Ticket
- DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket official page
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