DirecTV seals extension of NFL Sunday Ticket rights deal

Satellite-television provider DirecTV has extended an exclusive rights deal for the NFL American football Sunday Ticket package of programming.

According to multiple reports, the deal will run for eight years, from 2015-16 to 2022-23, and is worth an average of $1.5bn (€1.2bn) per season – a 50-per-cent increase on the current arrangement worth $1bn per season.

Sunday Ticket is an out-of-market subscription package that was launched by DirecTV in 1994, allowing subscribers to access Sunday afternoon games broadcast by US networks CBS and Fox.

The new deal also allows DirecTV to offer Sunday Ticket on mobile and broadband platforms, while the satellite-television provider will be able to continue showing the NFL’s Red Zone Channel on a non-exclusive basis.

The extension has paved the way for US telecommunications company AT&T to complete its proposed $48.5bn takeover of DirecTV.

In announcing the deal in May, AT&T said that it would have the right to pull out of the agreement if DirecTV failed to extend its Sunday Ticket rights deal.

Last month, DirecTV shareholders approved the takeover, and the transaction is expected to be closed in the first half of 2015, pending regulatory approval.