AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson expects NFL Sunday Ticket to remain exclusively on DirecTV.
“Exclusivity should remain, as we go forward, on DirecTV,” Stephenson told media analysts and reporters on Wednesday.
The package is extra important to DirecTV and its customers these days, as AT&T recently dropped the NFL Network and RedZone Channel from its U-verse and DirecTV Now services over a carriage-fee dispute.
The NFL does not seem as optimistic — or interested in — the exclusive Sunday Ticket relationship as Stephenson. The league is considering putting an end to DirecTV’s exclusive rights, which offers subscribers the ability to watch out-of-market games during the season.
Sunday Ticket has been exclusive to DirecTV customers for the past 25 years. Although the current deal between the AT&T-owned company and the NFL runs through the 2023 season, the league has an opt-out after the 2019 season.
“We’ve had a 25-year partnership and we want to continue that partnership, but we also are looking to see how we can change the delivery,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a March interview with Bloomberg. “We want it delivered on several different platforms.”
Stephenson’s remarks about his pricey rights came up during the Q&A portion of Wednesday’s AT&T Q1 earnings call. Earlier in the webcast, AT&T CFO John Stephens shared a few new insights/updates on how the “Game of Thrones” Season 8 premiere has fared for Time Warner’s HBO.
Read about those here.
And read about AT&T’s first-quarter financial performance here.