Cracks developing in NFL-DirecTV relationship

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The NFL and DirecTV have had a mutually beneficial relationship for a quarter of a century, with NFL Sunday Ticket becoming a must-have service for die-hard NFL fans. But recently, cracks have begun to develop in the relationship between the two companies.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that the league is considering taking the streaming rights to Sunday Ticket elsewhere, and now NFL Network has been taken off the streaming DirecTV Now service, as well as sister company U-verse, which like DirecTV is owned by AT&T.

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PFT reached out to the league office for comment and did not receive a response, although the NFL did send out a statement pointing out that unless the matter is resolved quickly, U-verse and DirecTV Now customers will miss NFL Network’s coverage of the NFL draft.

“While the NFL remains committed to negotiating renewed agreements on fair and equitable terms, AT&T has not been willing to actively engage,” the NFL said.

AT&T published a note to customers saying, “Our rights to provide the NFL Network in your TV lineup have expired. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”

Although this is a separate issue from Sunday Ticket, it points to the possibility that the NFL may be looking to leave DirecTV and find a company that would serve as a better partner. The league has the ability to pull the plug on DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket exclusivity after the 2019 season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that happen.

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