DirecTV has formally apologized for a second straight week of glitches that wiped out its popular, decades-old Sunday Ticket offering.
NFL fans and customers lit up Twitter on Sunday with their outrage when it became clear that the TV operator was experiencing a second straight week of technical difficulties. From end to end, the outage lasted about two hours, and followed a similar mess in the prior week. Streaming, rather than traditional satellite, experienced the issues.
“We recognize we didn’t meet expectations on Sunday for customers looking to stream some of the games, and we want to apologize,” the company said in a statement posted on social media. “While it won’t bring the games back, we plan to reach out to those affected to automatically reimburse them for week two.”
The Sunday Ticket package, which is in its final season of DirecTV exclusivity, is about to find a new home. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this summer indicating a streaming service is likely to be announced as the rightsholder later this fall, as reports have swirled of Apple and Google pursuing the rights. The offering, which costs in the range of $300 to $400 per season depending on the package, is in its 29th season and for many years was a marquee subscriber draw for DirecTV. Over the past decade, satellite subscriber levels have ebbed and streaming packages mounted by DirecTV and Dish have not gained serious traction amid a proliferation of alternatives to the traditional pay-TV bundle.
The changing of the Sunday Ticket guard is only likely to add to restlessness about the migration of live sports from linear TV to streaming. Apple and Peacock have started exclusive Major League Baseball streams this year, while Amazon last Thursday kicked off an 11-year deal to carry NFL Thursday Night Football.
DirecTV spent six years as a division of AT&T, but the telecom giant spun off the TV operator last year and private equity firm TPG took a 30% stake. Despite its legacy roots, DirecTV remains in the mix with sports rights, recently sealing a multi-year deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football in bars, restaurants and other out-of-home locations.