There are probably people out there who think that once NFL Sunday Ticket is no longer under the auspices of DirecTV, that the service will be able to be had at a lower price. They hope that if Amazon gets it, then it will be included with Prime or maybe a free addition to ESPN+ or something. Unfortunately, that will not be the case no matter who has control of the service next season. This decision is actually out of the hands of whoever wins the rights to the service.
The reason for this is that the NFL’S primary TV partners, the major broadcast networks do want it that way. CBS, NBC and FOX are the gait keepers for NFL football in most of the country and they want to keep it that way. Why not let users get Sunday Ticket cheap? Because then people might be tempted to add the service and watch any game they want at 1pm instead of tuning in to their local affiliate. With the billions that major networks have behind NFL media rights, the investment would go up in smoke if millions of Amazon Prime customers in Minnesota just decided hey I don’t care for the Vikings matchup this week. I’ll watch the Ravens on Sunday Ticket instead.
Users with Sunday ticket still have the choice to do just that. But it will continue to cost them. Furthermore, national broadcasts are not available on Sunday Ticket either. So if a subscriber wants to watch Sunday Night Football they better have access to NBC. The same goes for Amazon’s Thursday Night Football. Is that going to make football fans happy? Certainly not, but once it is not tied to DirecTV at least it means that customers who want Sunday Ticket will not have to subscribe to an entire TV service on top of paying for the football access. Could the new partner tie subscriptions to a paid service? Sure. But none of the top contenders for Sunday Ticket, Amazon, Apple and Disney, offer anything close to DirecTV’s bloated TV lineup packages. Though I guess it’s possible that Hulu with Live TV could be tied into the deal in the case of Disney winning the bid. But I also think that is unlikely. More likely that customers would be given an incentive to get the Disney/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle with a slight discount for all services.
The sports world will change in a big way for fans and the provider who wins the rights either way.