Monday, September 12, 2011

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket

It seems like DirecTV has gotten really aggressive this year with pitching themselves, and in particular, NFL Sunday Ticket.

NFL Sunday Ticket, in case you don't know, is the only way to ensure you can see principally all the NFL games each week. Historically, it's been a godsend to nomads like me, people who have emigrated from their hometowns to settle in the savage and unforgiving wilderness (in my case, Chicago).

Of course, it's always been pretty expensive. And it also required you to get TV service through satellite, which isn't even an option for most of us in apartments.

But DirecTV has been willing to pay the NFL a fortune to be the exclusive provider, and since the NFL is in the interest of making money, DirecTV gets a monopoly on providing comprehensive coverage.

But lately, I've noticed a harder pitch from the satellite company.

Exhibit A: Recent offers of Free NFL Sunday Ticket for subscribers (caveat in that it requires a two year agreement and is only for new subscribers, so you can see why it's worth it for them)

Exhibit B: NFL Sunday Ticket To Go - An idea which seems to be an unlikely offer from a TV service provider...Streaming over mobile devices and even things like a PS3. The price is pretty outrageous (over $300 if I remember correctly), but one of the first breakthroughs for those of us waiting to get the NFL through something other than a traditional TV channel (finally following the NHL and MLB and basically every other sport out there)

Exhibit C: An email offer I got today offering me 12,500 American Airlines bonus miles if I got DirecTV. They must really know me well to come after me with streaming access AND airline miles!

Now it's possible they've done this type of stuff every year, but I really can't recall these types of promotions for what's really the company's only unique product offering.

Two questions come to mind. Well, one question and one comment.

How is the wider availability of NFL Red Zone impacting DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket package?

My dad got the Red Zone channel at least a couple seasons ago, and last year, with an Eagles Thursday night matchup on the docket, I forked over the extra $8 a month for the sports package to get it and the NFL network.

And to me, the Red Zone channel has all but destroyed any inkling I'd ever have of getting Sunday Ticket.

The Red Zone channel just shows football, continuously, as long as there's a game on. Cutting from one game to another, it's like football nirvana (except for those who need the occasional bathroom or 'my wife's trying to talk to me' break)

So it's better than DirecTV, and at ~$8 a month, it's a lot cheaper than $300+.

The only argument is that you can't watch an entire game of your favorite team, but since I'm an Eagles fan, I get most of them on national broadcasts anyway. So until they start going 6-10 every year, I'm pretty OK with the access I've got.

So, since I'm a football fan, and Red Zone has completely won me over, is that why we're seeing such aggressive promotion tactics? It's also worth noting that DirecTV seems to have rolled out a ton of additional features and wrinkles (like a player stat tracker for fantasy purposes, or access to coaches' pre-game shows), obviously including their streaming access as well.

Could it be they're starting to feel the heat from some (albeit slightly indirect) competition?

While I think it's pretty safe to say yes, I also noticed this article.

It's the first NFL Sunday of the season, and DirecTV's $350 Sunday Ticket To-Go doesn't work.

We bought the $350 service — which lets users watch every NFL game on their computer or mobile device — over the weekend, and were hoping to use it for a kick-ass live blog complete with scores, commentary, and highlights.

But instead, we can't even sign into To-Go because the "Start Watching" button on the website is disabled.

A ton of users are having this problem, and DirecTV is getting killed for it on this forum.


If you're going to launch a new product, and it's going to be a major focal point of your ad campaign, and it's going to be purchased primarily by tech-savvy early have to make sure the freaking thing works!

Obviously, that's obvious. And I'm sure someone has been fired, disciplined, or buried in the desert for it. But that type of thing just pushes me further away from considering the technology.

And that's kind of a shame. Because I had seriously been considering buying a PS3, and getting our own Wi-fi network, just to pay DirecTV over $300 for NFL Sunday Ticket.

But I'm happy with Red Zone, and while my wife isn't happy with football in general, she'll at least be glad to hear I won't be able to watch it on my phone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

DIRECTV is charging their customers every nickel and dime for football programming. DISH Network customers only have to pay $7/mo for the multi-sports package plus the get all of their regional sport networks. If you get the RedZone you will be able to see game changing plays all over the league and every touchdown red zone play. Working for DISH I can tell you that you will also be able to watch the NFL RedZone in HD and on dish online for free.