NFL fans, we have some good news and bad news. The good news is that DirecTV (s DTV) is finally making its NFL Sunday Ticket package available to anyone with a broadband connection, regardless of whether they subscribe to the satellite company’s pay TV services or not. The bad news is that the package costs a whopping $350, which is the same amount that DirecTV subscribers will pay for access to the NFL package on their TV and via broadband. (Hat tip to Dave Zatz)
DirecTV has long held exclusive rights to the full slate of National Football League games for the season, which it sells in a comprehensive package called NFL Sunday Ticket. Previously, it was only available to subscribers, meaning this is the first time that DirecTV has opened up its NFL package to those who wouldn’t — or couldn’t — sign up for its satellite TV service. With the new, open availability of its NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go broadband offering, anyone will be able to sign up for the service as long as they’re fine with watching it via PC.
However, just because potential users aren’t getting the full HD experience of watching the NFL on a big screen product doesn’t mean that DirecTV is making it any cheaper for those who sign up for the online-only version of the product. DirecTV subscribers can expect to pay $299 for the NFL Sunday Ticket TV package, and if they want the flexibility of also having the broadband stream and mobile access, it’ll cost an additional $49. But for non-subscribers, NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go is available for $350, meaning there are no real savings for not subscribing to the satellite service.
The availability of a broadband-only offering comes not long after DirecTV extended its exclusive deal with the NFL through 2014 in a deal that gave the satellite provider expanded streaming rights. Through that deal, DirecTV agreed to make a broadband-only version of NFL Sunday Ticket available by 2012, so it’s way ahead on that front.
While the broadband-only NFL package isn’t cheap, especially when compared to similar offerings from Major League Baseball ($100 for the 2010 full season) or the NBA ($100 for NBA League Pass Broadband, $40 for NBA League Pass Mobile), it’s still a big win for hardcore football fans that can’t get DirecTV, either because they live in apartment buildings that don’t allow the satellite service, because they have poor sight lines, or choose to go with a different cable or satellite provider.
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