NFL Sunday Ticket streaming-only package updates tiers, adds 10 universities to eligibility

Want to subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket without carrying a DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) subscription as well? This could be your lucky season. The satellite provider, as it did last year, is offering NFLSundayTicket.tv in three tiers, starting at $199.99--with certain restrictions.

Cord cutters can stream live, out-of-market NFL games via the service if they meet certain conditions: They must live in an apartment building where DirecTV service is not available; must "attend college at Michigan (Ann Arbor), Alabama, Washington, Texas (Austin), USC, Florida, Colorado (Boulder), Syracuse, Ohio State or Harvard," according to NFL.com's news site; or must live in New York City, Philadelphia or San Francisco.

Update: A DSL Reports story said that DirecTV's promotion is nothing new--it's offered an online-only option for several years--and if anything, it's a bit more expensive than last season. "Other than their usual pre-season promotion, nothing has changed in terms of Sunday Ticket being restrictive and expensive. That might improve slightly depending on DirecTV's renewed licensing agreement with the NFL," Karl Bode wrote.

A commenter noted that the addition of 10 universities to eligible locations is new.

Service will be available starting Sunday, Sept. 7.

Those not sure if they qualify can check eligibility at DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket home page.

The package targets residents of multi-dwelling units (MDUs), particularly in urban areas or at universities that don't allow DirecTV satellite dishes to be installed outside the buildings.

A check of a Boston-area MDU showed the address was eligible for the service.

At the lowest tier, the $199.99 "Digital" package (not quite the lowest as a student discount may apply), subscribers can stream NFL Sunday Ticket to their laptop, desktop or mobile phone. The middle "Console" tier, priced at $239.99, allows subs to stream to their Xbox One, PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 only. The highest tier, the $329.99 "Max" package, allows subscribers to stream over any applicable device including the above game consoles, and gives them access to DirecTV's Red Zone channel and new Fantasy Zone channel.

Online-only customers are paying about the same price as DirecTV's regular satellite customers for the tiers; however, they don't have a month-to-month payment option, a feature satellite customers have.

NFL Sunday Ticket is a lynchpin to DirecTV's service offerings. That's clearly one reason why the streaming-only offer is being made just to those who can't otherwise access its satellite services--it enables DirecTV to keep its current DTS subscriber base while attracting a new set of customers, whose devotion to football may keep them renewing the Sunday Ticket package for years to come, whether they shift to full DirecTV services or not.

Such a move could also increase the value of DirecTV to AT&T, which is looking to merge with the satellite provider.

"By integrating DirecTV's video capabilities with our strength in fixed and mobile broadband delivery, we will create a new competitor with unprecedented capabilities," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told a congressional panel in late June.

While some analysts are skeptical about the two companies' supposed synergies in infrastructure, AT&T has been touting the ability to bundle services more flexibly.

"The combined company will have the ability to offer customers the option of bundling the DirecTV experience with integrated AT&T offers: mobile, broadband or any number of other products," AT&T said in an 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission soon after the announced merger.

The NFL Sunday Ticket streaming package looks a lot like a sample of one of these flexible options.

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket eligibility

Checking a Boston-area MDU showed the address was eligible for streaming-only service. (Source: DirecTV)

For more:
- see DirecTV's website
- NFL.com has this story
- DSL Reports has this story

Related articles:
With Comcast, DirecTV, Charter deals elusive, Disney's SEC Network a major test for regional sports
AT&T, DirecTV officials make merger pitch in back-to-back congressional hearings
AT&T: DirecTV buy will save it 20% on programming costs

Updated July 23 to clarify package's availability.

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