DirecTV Moves To Take Manhattan With Broadband Sunday Ticket
Satellite Leader Hikes $350 Package Into Play With Marketing Support
By Todd Spangler , 8/28/2009 2:20:12 PM EDT

DirecTV is offering football-mad Manhattan residents who can't get satellite TV service in their apartment building a broadband-only version of the NFL Sunday Ticket package, priced $50 higher than the regular version.

The satellite operator is promoting the offer in New York with the tagline, "Call an audible on your landlord." Ads direct interested consumers to directv site.

"Manhattanites: No need to go roaming the city in search of a bar that's showing your favorite team," DirecTV's site says. "Just crack open a cold one and enjoy every NFL game, every Sunday, on your computer -- PC or Mac."

The satellite-less version of Sunday Ticket Online -- available to those who can't receive the out-of-market linear package -- costs $349.99. The service allows only one game to be viewed at a time, and blackout rules will apply for games broadcast in the New York metro area.

Elsewhere, those purchasing the online version must pay $100 as an add-on, in addition to $299.95 price for the popular Sunday Ticket TV package.

When DirecTV negotiated the extension to Sunday Ticket with the NFL in March, worth $4 billion over four years, it secured the rights to offer a broadband-only version of the package, but only to consumers who are unable to receive satellite service for various reasons.

Moreover, in concert with subsequent extensions with Sunday carriers Fox and CBS, NFL Network is now pitching NFL RedZone, the league's version of the Red Zone application that has been available via Sunday Ticket. Thus far, Comcast and Dish Network have signed on to offer NFL RedZone, which kicks off Sept. 13.

DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said the broadband-only version of Sunday Ticket for the 2009 season will be available only to residents in the borough of Manhattan.

"We wanted to test this service in a small area and Manhattan was a logical choice given the high level of building and line-of-sight issues," he wrote in an e-mail. "What we learn here will be applied to the national rollout."

That's slated to occur with the 2010-11 NFL campaign.