DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket is such a massive money-maker for the satellite company that its exclusive arrangement with the NFL for this package was a make-or-break aspect of AT&T’s decision to acquire DirecTV. Yet some reports claim that DirecTV is willing to let subscribers part with this pricey package, which costs around $300 per year, if they simply say they are upset over some NFL players kneeling or locking arms during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Wall Street Journal was the first major source to report this week that some DirecTV customers were able to get out of their Sunday Ticket obligations after telling DTV customer service reps they no longer wanted to support the NFL.
DirecTV has been notoriously stingy about letting customers out of Sunday Ticket agreements in the past, and the company’s policy for the service effectively locks the subscriber in once the season has begun. AT&T makes at least $1.5 billion a year just from Sunday Ticket, so why is it doing this now?
It’s a good question that no one at AT&T or DirecTV will answer. The company did not comment on the Journal story and has refused multiple requests from Consumerist just asking to confirm that this is indeed an option for customers. We have also asked AT&T if it is also providing this out to Sunday Ticket customers who are unhappy with this reported loophole for just those subscribers who are offended by the peaceful pre-game demonstrations. Again, no reply.
What’s unclear — because AT&T and DirecTV refuse to say anything — is if this opt-out is actual company policy, with DirecTV realizing that it’s perhaps best to placate a longterm satellite customer who pays at least $100/month rather than lose their business entirely. But if that’s the case, then shouldn’t anyone be able to call DirecTV up after week 8 or 9 in the season if their team is out of contention and threaten to drop their satellite service if they still have to pay for the rest of Sunday Ticket?
It could also be a situation where some customers have gotten lucky and spoken with customer retention employees willing to give them a break on the Sunday Ticket contract.
Without that clarity from the company, we can’t say whether anyone else would experience the same results as those customers who say they’ve successfully gotten out of their usually binding agreements with DirecTV.