Could Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) and SONY (NYSE: SNE) be getting ready to steal away DIRECTV’s (NASDAQ: DTV) biggest asset? Let’s face it the only two reasons to have DirecTV are you live in an area that is so remote there is no alternative or you are a displaced football fan. Being the latter, I have flirted many times myself with adding the service.
DirecTV first introduced the NFL Sunday Ticket package as a $149.00 per year premium add-on. Now that the NFL and DirecTV are in their last year of the contract, DirecTV is flooding the airwaves with ads about their now free service. DirecTV needs to get as many subscribers signed up to their two year contracts as possible before the NFL season is over.
Google has been rumored to have met with the NFL already and is in talks to add NFL Sunday Ticket to its YouTube service. Pundits of Google getting this service include a recent Forbes.com article by Mark Rogowsky. Rogowsky claims Google will not get approval from the NFL because “Google doesn’t have the living room infrastructure yet anyway. ” YouTube, Google’s flagship video service is a standard feature on SONY and Microsoft gaming platforms, it is also bundled software on most smart TVs and blu-ray players these days. Google has more than enough nodes in the marketplace to deliver the service over a high speed connection.
SONY and Microsoft could also be players in this war offering the service via their respective gaming platforms. However, the scenario no one is talking about is, what if the NFL is not willing to give one service exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket again?
DirecTV has a mere 20% of the digital TV market. Wouldn’t it be prudent for the NFL to open up this service to Fios, Xfinity, Microsoft, SONY and anyone else who wants it? If this model works for HBO, Showtime and the other premium channels, why not the NFL? Making this transition even easier, the NFL already has contracts in place with all of the major cable companies to carry the NFL Network.
I am not sure how this will exactly playout but my guess is NFL Sunday ticket will be widely available in 2014. Even this year non-DirecTV subscribers can access the service. Included with Madden NFL 25 Anniversary Edition for Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 is FREE access to the full 2013 regular season (17 weeks) of NFL Sunday Ticket on computer, tablet, and mobile devices. Plug your laptop or tablet into your TV and you are ready to roll.
No, it’s not necessary to have a DirecTV subscription. Each Anniversary Edition includes a code that can be redeemed to access the full 2013 regular season (17 weeks) of NFL Sunday Ticket on computer, tablet, and mobile devices. For $42 (on Amazon.com) you have the entire NFL season, savvy football fans can resell the game sans access code to recoup some money if they do not have a game console. The games without the Sunday Ticket codes are currently selling for $40 on Ebay.