Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Sony, DirecTV Bring Back NFL for Cord-Cutters

Live sports are the most compelling reason not to ditch pay TV. But here, again, are Sony and DirecTV, offering cord-cutters a chance to get the most valuable asset in sports.

That would be DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” package, which gives football fans the ability to watch every single NFL game, without geographical restrictions.

Normally, Sunday Ticket is exclusive to DirecTV, and I know lots of people who get the satellite service solely so they can binge on football every Sunday.

But this year, for the second year in a row, DirecTV and Sony are letting nonsubscribers pay for Sunday Ticket, via Sony’s PS3 game console.

Sony is promoting this primarily as a way for people who already have Sunday Ticket to watch the games on their console, at no extra charge. But it’s also selling the package to nonsubscribers, for $300 — $40 less than last year.

In theory, you’re not supposed to be able to order Sunday Ticket this way unless you’re physically unable to get DirecTV, presumably because of geographical restrictions. But I’m pretty sure that, just like last year, DirecTV won’t really vet this — you just say “no” when the prompt screen asks if you’re able to receive the satellite service, pay up, and you’re on your way.

Of course, if there are lots of people taking advantage of this loophole, you’d see DirecTV shutting it down, because it’s in the the business of selling monthly pay-TV subscriptions, not a la carte football packages.

But it’s fun to imagine a world where you could do this for everything, all the time. Not holding my breath

Update: If you don’t want to pay for football but do want to watch it legally on the Web, you’ll be able to do that as well this year — for a single game a week. NBC will once again be streaming its Sunday night games online. And, unlike the Olympics, you don’t need to be a pay-TV subscriber to watch the feed.


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