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  • STAY CALM: Sunday Ticket is not going away



    Seriously, folks, calm down. Over the last few days there has been a swell of concern over offhand remarks made by DIRECTV CEO Pat Doyle. It's given rise to concerns that DIRECTV will lose exclusive control over its popular Sunday Ticket package after 2015.

    Like most runaway internet rumors, this one can be traced back to a few words on a single web site. Here they are, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:

    Asked about the future of DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket amid rising sports costs, (Doyle) said that if the price tag went too high in the next rights deal negotiations, DirecTV would consider striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly even dropping the popular package.

    DirecTV's current NFL Sunday Ticket deal expires in 2015.
    That's it.

    Come on folks, that's one step above a "No Comment." All Mr. Doyle is saying is that he's not going to rule out any part of his negotiating strategy when he has two years left to fight. Really. It's like Mr. Doyle was asked, suppose that the NFL wants 27 kajillion dollars, would he then be willing to walk away from the deal... and the whole internet responds like this guy:



    There's no way a smart businessman like Mr. Doyle would have said anything less. Did anyone think he would say, "Oh yeah, we don't care what it costs, come on NFL, give it to us good! We'll pay every cent of it! May as well start asking now!" Of course he's going to say that anything is possible.

    Anything is possible. I'm not telling you any more. That's pretty much what Mr. Doyle said. That's all.

    To those who think that this was a deliberate ploy, an opening salvo in a public war of words... isn't it a little too early to think that? DIRECTV has certainly tried to settle things in the court of public opinion before but not until after closed-door negotiations have failed.

    Folks, this is an offhand remark. It doesn't signal a sea change at DIRECTV, it doesn't mean that DIRECTV will give up on its most powerful weapon against cable companies. It means... that the whole thing is 2 years away. It means that no one in his right mind is going to weaken his negotiating position when there are reporters around. That's all. Really.

    Let's pick this discussion up in the spring of 2015 when the negotiations are actually taking place? Mmmmmkay? I promise, everything will be fine until then.

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