AT&T dropped NFL Network as the telco and the league continue to try to hammer out an agreement on the NFL Sunday Ticket, the out-of-market games package that has been carried on DirecTV exclusively for 25 years. That’s as the NFL has said it’s looking to end DirecTV’s exclusive carriage of Sunday Ticket to extend it to streaming platforms.
In a statement posted online to customers, AT&T said, “The NFL Network and Red Zone Channel remain available to all fans on DirecTV. However, as we continue to manage content costs, we could not reach an agreement with the NFL to continue to carry their channels on U-verse TV and DirecTV Now.”
On DirecTV satellite service, NFL Network is included in the Choice package and higher. Red Zone Channel is included with a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket Max, which cost $395.94 for the 2018 season.
AT&T’s move to kick NFL Network off the lineup of the DirecTV Now streaming service and U-verse evidently caught the NFL off guard — and appears to be a negotiating tactic as AT&T seeks to retain exclusive distribution rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.
Last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Bloomberg interview that the league wanted to expand the distribution of NFL Sunday Ticket to online platforms in addition to DirecTV. “We’re looking to make sure that we continue to deliver this package, which is a premium package of great content,” he said. “We want it delivered on several different platforms.”
The price for DirecTV subscribers for the regular NFL Sunday Ticket package for the 2018 season was $293.94. AT&T also has offered a streaming-only version of NFL Sunday Ticket, but only to non-DirecTV customers who are college students or live somewhere in the U.S. where DirecTV satellite service is not available (like apartments and other multidwelling-unit buildings).