Now that the player-owner labor situation has been settled, fans are gearing up for football season. Watching games on Sunday has become a pastime for many over the last 15 years, especially now that NFL Sunday Ticket has become such a popular product. But what about getting NFL Sunday Ticket on Comcast, or other providers? Is it going to be a possibility this year, or for that matter anytime thereafter? Here is the current situation for displaced and hardcore fantasy football fans.
When the league owners renegotiated the broadcast contracts a few years ago, they extended the deal that was in place with DIRECTV satellite. DIRECTV was paying in the area of $700 million each season for the right to carry the out-of-market package, but with the latest deal the price went up to $1 billion per season. That is certainly a huge price to pay, and most experts believe that DIRECTV does not make back the money they spend on Sunday Ticket package sales alone, but they do when you factor in that these customers pay DIRECTV year round for the rest of their pay television programming.
The deal locked out Comcast customer from NFL Sunday Ticket through at least the 2014 season, when once again the NFL will renegotiate with DIRECTV and presumably other pay television providers. So if you are an Xfinity/Comcast customer, you won’t be able to get Sunday Ticket on your TV for at least three more years. So what are your options if you do have Xfinity TV and want the most NFL action?
One option is the Sports Entertainment Package, offered through Comcast to customers for a few bucks extra each month. The NFL version of the RedZone channel is offered on this sports tier, and is broadcast each Sunday. This channel jumps from game to game when a team is in the “red zone” so you usually can see each score as it happens. Occasionally you will miss a score if a team strike from long yardage, but the network does a good job in bringing you immediate highlights of all the action.
The only other option for Comcast customers wanting NFL Sunday Ticket is to check into the online only option. If you live in a high rise condo that doesn’t allow satellite, or are a renter and you landlord won’t allow you to install a satellite dish, you may be able to order the online Sunday Ticket package. The price is around $350 for the season, a bit more than the regular ST package, but you won’t have to get the full DIRECTV video package and you will be able to enjoy any game as long as you have a good internet connection.