DirecTV didn’t punt the entire “NFL Sunday Ticket” package of professional football, after all.
On Thursday, the satellite TV provider and EverPass Media announced they would distribute Sunday Ticket games to more than 300,000 business establishments in the U.S. — sports bars, casinos, restaurants and offices — through a new multiyear television rights package with the NFL. The contract begins with the new fall season.
Terms of the deal were not announced.
The NFL in December announced it was shifting the popular Sunday Ticket offering for residential consumers to Google’s YouTube TV. That left El Segundo-based DirecTV, which pioneered the offering with the league since its inception in 1994, seemingly on the sidelines.
Lately, DirecTV was bleeding more than $100 million a year on the pricey package that provides out-of-market games to football fans. Its former corporate owner AT&T, which stumbled in its tenure overseeing DirecTV, had no interest in continuing the red ink. (Two years ago, AT&T spun DirecTV into a new company with TPG Capital.)
While the NFL did not reveal the value of YouTube’s seven-year rights package for residential customers, reports put the annual figure for Google at $2.5 billion — an increase of $1 billion from what DirecTV had been paying.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last year touted the league’s future of streaming, but the technology — with its occasional delays, buffering and syncing issues — was expected to cause headaches for restaurants and casinos that depend on speedy and simultaneous broadcasts of sports programming.
For its part, EverPass Media will provide the platform to distribute NFL Sunday Ticket to commercial establishments, EverPass Chief Executive Alex Kaplan said in a statement.
EverPass receives its funding from RedBird Capital Partners. The NFL, through its strategic investment arm 32 Equity, also has a stake.
In addition to NFL Sunday Ticket, the DirecTV for Business sales division distributes other premium programming, including commercial rights for Major League Baseball’s “Friday Night Baseball” and Major League Soccer’s “MLS Season Pass” for Apple customers, as well as the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” which is broadcast through Amazon’s Prime Video.
“DirecTV for Business delivers a market-leading, consistent and reliable sports viewing experience to fans in more than 300,000 bars, restaurants and other commercial establishments across the United States,” Mike Wittrock, DirecTV chief sales and service officer, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with EverPass and continue carriage of NFL Sunday Ticket.”