Satellite TV provider DirecTV reported that it lost some 400,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year, and according to data from private equity company TPG Capital, the service now has around 14.9 million customers. That is considerably fewer than the nearly 26 million DirecTV/U-Verse customers in May 2014, when AT&T acquired the company – and even usurped Comcast as the largest pay-TV operator in the country, albeit only briefly.
Last Sunday, DirecTV quickly acknowledged the problems and worked quickly to resolve the issues, but that was little consolation to fans who had hoped to tune in to see the “out-of-market” games that are exclusively available via the satellite service.
While those watching via the standard satellite service weren’t impacted last weekend, it did affect those trying to stream the game via the app or online who missed all seven games. Only at 10 pm ET on Sunday, Sept. 18, did the service announce that the Sunday Ticket games had returned for streaming – but that was actually after all the games, except for Sunday Night Football (available nationwide on NBC) had concluded.
The company followed up last Monday by announcing that customers would receive refunds. DirecTV had also previously prorated refunds to customers impacted during Week 1.
“We recognize we didn’t meet expectations on Sunday for customers looking to stream some of the games, and we want to apologize. While it won’t bring the games back, we plan to reach out to those affected to automatically reimburse them for week two,” the official DIRECTV Help account announced via a Tweet.
We recognize we didn’t meet expectations on Sunday for customers looking to stream some of the games, and we want to apologize. While it won’t bring the games back, we plan to reach out to those affected to automatically reimburse them for week two.
— DIRECTV Help (@DIRECTVhelp) September 19, 2022
It certainly wasn’t a good look for the service. The Sunday Ticket package is also not cheap and costs well over $300 for many fans, and depending on the package, can even exceed $400. Moreover, fans only need the service for 18 days of the year. As some quickly pointed out, the Sunday Ticket hasn’t worked for two of its 18 days; or roughly 11 percent of the time it is needed.
No More NFL Sunday on DirecTV
The 2022 season will likely be DirecTV’s last as the exclusive carrier of Sunday Ticket, and in July NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reporters that he expects the out-of-market package to move to a streaming service in light of the league’s recent deal with Amazon to stream Thursday Night Football. Goodell also noted he expects a decision to be made in the fall.
DirecTV has held the rights to Sunday Ticket since 1994, and this is not the first season that has seen users impacted by streaming issues. It carries all regional Sunday afternoon games produced by Fox and CBS. In addition to providing it via an app, it is carried on most JetBlue flights, so those who were in the air also were impacted by the recent outages.
“DirecTV’s situation is serious, particularly after the second outage of a premium stewing service in as many weeks,” explained technology industry analyst Charles King of Pund-IT.
“It is also unusual in terms of how most vendors deal with technical issues, addressing them quickly and making certain they don’t happen again,” King told 19FortyFive. “This is not only disappointing to the fans who pay for the NFL package. It will also impact DirecTV’s brand.”
It was in August 2021 that DirecTV completed its spinoff from AT&T, after which the AT&T TV service transformed to DirecTV Stream. The new company – referred to as “New DirecTV” during the spinoff period – is now once again simply “DirecTV.” It consists of the satellite service and the aforementioned AT&T TV/DirecTV Stream, and U-Verse TV.
Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.