US satellite television company Dish Network has said it would be interested in bidding for the NFL American football league’s Sunday Ticket package if rival operator DirecTV fails to extend its rights deal.
DirecTV is currently in talks with the NFL over renewing the rights for Sunday Ticket beyond the 2014-15 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.
US telecommunication company AT&T last month agreed a $48.5bn (€34.9bn) deal to acquire DirecTV, but it emerged that the firm would be able to cancel its takeover if DirecTV is unable to renew its exclusive deal for the Sunday Ticket package.
Commenting on the rights, Dish’s senior vice-president of product management Vivek Khemka told the Bloomberg news agency: “It’s the only exclusive still left for TV content. I’d be an idiot to say I didn’t want it.”
Khemka said that in the event talks with DirecTV fail, the NFL could separate the rights to offer Sunday Ticket over the internet from the traditional television contract. He added that Dish, which is starting an online-only video subscription, would be interested in the internet-only rights as well.