I’ve subscribed to the NFL Sunday Ticket via DirecTV for 11 years now — faithfully.
So when the satellite service announced that it was including the Ticket, as football junkies fondly refer to it, for free for new subscribers, I called. How dare they give away what I had to pay $350 for last season. They quickly responded to my loyalty and gave me the Ticket.
And now I know why they were quick to agree.
DirecTV has much bigger plans for its crown jewel of sports. Building on its NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go platform, which enables viewing on portable devices, the TV provider will offer the service on Sony’s Playstation 3 game console via a downloadable app through the Playstation Store.
I have no way to quantify how many PS3 subscribers have DirecTV. Ultimately, that’s not who they are targeting. The reality is that close to 20 million people have bought a PS3 since its 2006 debut. That’s a vast swath of earning potential, considering the package, which allows fans to view virtually any NFL game on Sundays, sells for $350.
The deal also comes at an opportune time for Sony, provided the electronics manufacturer can move more units. Sales of PS3 units plummeted in the second quarter by 25 percent versus the same time last year, possibly due to recent concerns about the Playstation Network, a key site for gamers and geeks alike, being hacked.
Acquiring access to the Ticket along with enacting a $50 price cut earlier might be enough to entice reluctant sports fans to purchase it along with those who can’t get the service because of obstructions near their home. When you consider the fact that apps for streaming services such as Netflix, Blockbuster on Demand, Hulu Plus and Vudu are available and it’s a blu-ray DVD player, it’s close to a one-stop entertainment hub, so some might view it as a bargain.
Word via a Twitter and several other sources is that the mid-day slot on 92.3 FM, the new sports talk station slated to debut Aug. 29, will be filled by a recognizable talent. Andy Baskin, sports director for WEWS (Channel 5), has a lock on the position. The word is that two key reporting beats — the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Indians — also will be filled with voices familiar to local audiences.
When reached by phone, Andy Rother, program director for the new station, would not comment.
A rumor making the rounds with local media types: SportsTime Ohio, the flagship station for Indians broadcasts, is up for sale. STO president Jim Liberatore said that the channel isn’t being shopped.
“When you look at the players now in our space, FSN, TWC, DirecTV, Comcast, etc., there is always someone who wants to discuss future alliances or purchase,” he said. “Ownership has been asked about this almost from day one. With that said, the ‘For Sale’ sign is not out and never has been.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.