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 Sports

No. 2 Virginia shrugs off slow start, beats Syracuse

Fresh
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett reacts to a play with the bench during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. Virginia won 61-49.

Anthony Gill scored 17 points to lead four Virginia players in double figures and the No. 2 Cavaliers beat Syracuse on Monday night to capture the ACC regular-season title

in Sports

Harden suspended 1 game for kicking James in the groin

File Photo: James Harden at the NBA 2K15 Launch Celebration held at the Standard
Credit :	Derrick Salters/WENN.com

Harden, the NBA's leading scorer and a top MVP candidate, won't play when the Rockets visit the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

in Sports

Harrington wins the Honda Classic in a playoff

Padraig Harrington poses for photographers after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament, Monday, March 2, 2015, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Harrington defeated Daniel Berger in a two hole playoff.

Padraig Harrington captured his first PGA Tour title in more than six years on Monday when he birdied the final hole in regulation and then beat 21-year-old rookie Daniel Berger on the second hole of a playoff.

in Sports

Jordan, 2 other NBA owners join Forbes’ billionaire list

Basketball legend Michael Jordan smokes a cigar while watching the fourball match on the first day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament, at Gleneagles, Scotland, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.

Michael Jordan and two other NBA owners have joined Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires.

in Sports

Bulls’ Butler out 3 to 6 weeks

Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler (21) goes to the basket against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.

The Chicago Bulls say guard Jimmy Butler will miss three to six weeks because of a sprained ligament in his left elbow.

Bellingham Traffic