The National Football League (NFL) has hit back at US telecommunications company AT&T after the company’s decision to remove the NFL Network and Red Zone channels from its U-verse TV and DirecTV over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
AT&T apparently took the decision to remove the channels from the platforms citing content costs and a failure to reach a carriage agreement with the NFL.
The channels remain on the DirecTV cable service — that deal expires at the end of the current season — but subscribers to AT&T’s digital services will not be able to watch the NFL draft via those platforms.
In a statement, the NFL said: “While the NFL remains committed to negotiating renewed agreements on fair and equitable terms, AT&T has not been willing to actively engage,
“We have a long history of working with our distribution partners to come to fair agreements. Unfortunately, as it pertains to AT&T, we never heard a word from them until NFL Network and NFL Red Zone were pulled from the AT&T services.”
DirecTV had had exclusive access to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket, the service which offers all out-of-market games, through the 2019/20 season but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently said that he was looking for a streaming partner for the package has been held exclusively by DirecTV since 1994.
“We’re having great discussions with DirecTV and AT&T,” Goodell told Bloomberg in March. “We’ve had a 25-year partnership and we want to continue that partnership, but we also are looking to see how we can change the delivery.”
There is speculation a new deal for Sunday Ticket would include AT&T’s DirecTV plus a streaming partner such as Amazon - which already has a deal for Thursday night games – or Verizon , another company which has access for some games on its service.