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NFL Sunday Ticket subs, this will interest you

1386 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Ryan

Hopefully, the broadcast networks will make enough of a fuss that this will not happen. But, if implemented, this could really hurt DirecTV.
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The Sunday Ticket "has become DirecTV's most powerful promotional tool over the last decade to get new subscribers, and to build its brand," said David Carter, a principal in the Los Angeles-based Sports Business Group.
This is why Dish/DirecTV can't let this happen.
Originally posted by James_F

This is why Dish/DirecTV can't let this happen.
I agree with you James. If, by chance, CATV gets the rights to have NFLST, hopefully it won't be exclusive and DirecTV will still carry the package. I'm kind of worried that local affils may cause such a fuss that the league will abandon NFLST totally, leaving both CATV and DBS subs without this great package.
But some sports experts say that it's unlikely there are that many rabid NFL fans who would be willing to pony up $199 per year to get the Sunday Ticket package. The NFL would be likely to demand a 10% guarantee from In Demand on its digital-subscriber base. So In Demand could end up losing tens of millions of dollars if it fell far short of the guarantee.
This is the other reason why it might not happen. This isn't the market for having large losses on programing... We'll see...
There is no way the Sunday Ticket is going to leave DirecTV. It's too late in the ballgame for that to happen. Several thousand sports bars converted to DirecTV from c-band when the Sunday Ticket started in 1994 and DirecTV got them to switch. There's no way the bars are going to go back to c-band (remember the Sunday Ticket is still on c-band in analog format for now) for football or any reason. The cost would be too much.

You thought the fan outage from the NFL games in 1990 was huge, this will be greater. More and more fans have the Sunday Ticket now and NFL then was the case in 1990 when most of the fans went to the sports bars to watch all of the games. Fans were upset in 1990 when the games were almost taken away and the sports bars got Budweiser to stop the scrambling. The same thing will happen in 2003 or whenever down the road. Fans will be upset allowing the sports bars to help again. There will always be some sort of a NFL package on DirecTV. Even if the local games are blacked out on the Sunday Ticket forcing you to watch those OTA.
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I don't doubt that it will stay on DirecTV, but the issue is that it might be available on Digital Cable also... :shrug:
Most of you probably don't know or maybe not remember this, but in 1990. CBS and NBC tried to scramble the network feeds and backhaul feeds for the NFL forcing the c-band market from not having the games either at home or your local sports bar. They were trying what MLB had started in 1988 as MLB was pretty darn successful with the scrambling of their feeds for several years. NFL fans got upset. Real upset. There were boycots. Budweiser helped out delaying the scrambling until 1994 when the next TV contract started and the creation of the Sunday Ticket. This is part of an article from the LA Times in 1990. CBS was ready with the fronthauls (commercial feeds), but NBC didn't have the Ku feeds scrambled at that time (just the one c-band feed). Maybe they had the equipment to unscramble the leitch backhauls, but that wasn't tested until 1994.

There's no way DirecTV will lose the Sunday Ticket totally. Maybe and proabably the local telecasts and have those blacked out, but the fans will go nuts without any Sunday Ticket. It's too late as stated earlier today. I just thought some might be interested in reading some of the article. I don't have time to type the whole thing, but you can get in it archive status from the LA Times if you want. :) Notice the argument betwen Taglibue and the sponsors and back and forth? Why would the sponsors want scrambling as that was my question in 1990? Budwesier didn't want Cardinals baseball games scrambled.

CBS Suspends Plans to Scramble Telecasts Television: Network blames lack of affiliate `de-scrambling' equipment for decision.
Los Angeles Times - Sep 1, 1990 - MICHAEL GRANBERRY

"At this time, there is insufficient `de-scrambling' equipment in place to allow the CBS television network to implement fully its plans to scramble all of its NFL broadcasts. Accordingly, CBS will not be scrambling all such broadcasts at the start of the NFL season Sept. 9."

Jules Moreland, programming chief for KFMB-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Diego, said the reference to "insufficient de-scrambling equipment" refers to the inability of local stations to receive scrambled feeds and pass them on to the viewers at home.

Anheuser-Busch officials would neither confirm nor deny the boycott's monetary impact, but [Tom Lange] said, "We would like to think that fans and sports-bar owners realize that Anheuser-Busch is opposed to scrambling, and we have gone to the networks to express that concern."

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, speaking for the first time on the subject, said Wednesday that scrambling was done at the urging of major advertisers-which Anheuser-Busch denied.

League spokesman Jim Heffernan said he knew of "no conversations between the NFL and Anheuser-Busch," but added, "That doesn't really mean anything. I'm just not aware of any. And if I was, I probably couldn't comment anyway. But I also know of no announcement by the league."
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Interesting Mike, thanks for posting that.
Here's some clips that I found in my papers. I kept these as a reference for later use, so now's a good time to use them for the 1st time :)

I understand this is years ago and it's c-band, but it's the same logic. Even if cable gets the NFL package then it will still be around on DirecTV. Maybe not in the same form, but you have more fans now used to watching games on satellite. Same thing with the sponsors has to happen. Wouldn't you think? I couldn't believe it happened before, but it did work. If there are no games on DirecTV, then they will have to be available on c-band I would think for the fans to go to sports bars that still have c-band and watch the games that way. The games will never be shut out from the fans again. It would cause a riot and a very bad PR move.
Scrambling of NFL Telecasts Opposed Television: San Diego congressman, citing wide support in Washington, will introduce a bill to prohibit such action.
Los Angeles Times - Aug 29, 1990 - Michael Granberry -

Congressional opposition to scrambling was also heard from Senators Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) and Albert Gore (D-Tenn.). Roy Neel, administrative assistant to Gore, said the senator "respects the NFL's lawful right to protect its copyrighted signals" but to "freeze out" millions of rural viewers across the country who watch games via satellite dish would be "a terrible blow."

The Miami group has been involved in litigation with the NFL, as have interests in other cities. But as Val Pinchbeck, the NFL vice president in charge of broadcasting, said, the league has won "each and every" court case in which television was an issue.

[Glenn Jensen] said the NFL's stated reason for scrambling-that it protects local affiliates and thus local advertisers-is "nonsense." He said the league's sole reason for not offering a de-scrambling package is its fear of antitrust legislation, "which is its No. 1 concern and always has been. It's a monopoly that has to protect the monopoly. The only way to do that is through an antitrust exemption."

Tagliabue Seems to Be Scrambling Over Scrambling Issue NFL: He says advertisers wanted to make telecasts unavailable to satellite dish owners, but a major sponsor denies that.
By Michael Granberry - LA Times - Aug 30, 1990

"Anheuser-Busch as a company was not involved at any point in the decision made to scramble these satellite transmissions (of NFL games)," said the spokesman, who asked not to be quoted by name. "It's strictly an NFL and network decision. Since Anheuser-Busch is not involved in that decision, we would like to believe that a boycott of our products is something we have no control over."

Norman Lebovitz, a San Diego restaurateur who has organized a Southern California grass-roots effort called the Assn. for Sports Fans' Rights, said Wednesday that his group advocates the boycott of Budweiser beer and other Anheuser-Busch products advertised on NFL telecasts. Lebovitz said that his group was planning to join forces with the Miami-based United Sports Fans of America, "which will put our membership over 4,000."

"We're going to boycott Budweiser and other NFL sponsors," said Dan Scott, whose 150-member Green Bay Packers Pacific Boosters Club meets fall Sundays at a restaurant in West Covina, Calif. "They're one of the biggest NFL sponsors. We buy their beer and drink their beer, along with other sponsors'. Now it's time for them to support us."

NFL, Networks Say Outcry Won't Halt Scrambling
By Michael Granberry - LA Times - Aug 24, 1990.

Officials for the NFL and the major television networks said Thursday that they were stunned by the response of sports-bar owners angered over the scrambling of NFL telecasts.

Rep. Jim Bates (D-San Diego) said he had heard from constituents outraged over the NFL's decision. As a member of the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, Bates said he planned to ask the subcommittee on telecommunications to investigate NFL scrambling and decide whether it was legally appropriate.

"I have real reservations about it," Bates said. "So I'm considering legislation to prevent the league from doing it. At this point, it depends on public reaction. If it continues to come down soundly against the NFL, I think the bill can pass. It seems to me the NFL got hysterical and is going against the majority and the needs of consumers."
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Since cable operators are more 'local' than DirecTV, they might be under more pressure to blackout the locally broadcast games.

I could see the NFL offer InDemand Sunday Ticket as an OOM package like the other big three packages. You'd still be compelled to watch your locally broadcast games on the local affiliates.
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