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Old 08-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #1
terpfan1980
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NFL Sunday Ticket now "free" with DirecTV?

So I'm seeing these things called "commercials" during the baseball game broadcasts that I've been tuned into... during those commercials there've been commercials stating that the NFL Sunday Ticket is now "FREE" with DirecTV.

Am I mis-hearing this? Has it gotten to the point that DirecTV is no longer able to command the premium fees that they used to get for the Sunday Ticket package?

I know a few years ago they had the NASCAR Track/Race pass package that they used to charge for and they wound up having to make that free for all DirecTV subscribers as they couldn't get enough paid customers for it and/or couldn't turn it into anything other than a loss leader for themselves. Is that what the Sunday Ticket is for them now too?

I'm sure that there are up charges of some sort with this "free" plan, but I'm just amazed that the NFL and/or DirecTV have gotten to the point that they have to offer the games for free. I guess it's a sign of the damage that has been done to the package compliments of the NFL RedZone channel existence on other providers.
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:12 PM   #2
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I THINK it's only for new members, and for the first year only.

I got the Red Zone channel free again, all I care about besides Pats games
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:14 PM   #3
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I believe they are offering a 1 year subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket for new customers with a 2 year commitment.

I paid $349 last year as an existing customer for Ticket and this year they offered it to me for $149. Even at $149 I passed. I've determined it's worth $99 to me and nothing more. For $149 I'd rather take that money and go watch the few games that aren't already on TV at a sports bar and have good food/drink.
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:33 PM   #4
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Yes, this offer is for new customers only- it is in tiny print at the end of the commercial.

IMO, that commercial is very misleading, and I am sure they are getting a ton of calls from current customers asking for free Sunday Ticket.
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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In addition, they are running an ad about their new lower price for Sunday Ticket of $199. I saw it this morning during the NBC olympic coverage.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:07 PM   #6
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It's slimeball marketing at it's best.

If you are a new subscriber, you get it free automatically for the first season. It then auto-renews for the 2nd season unless you cancel it. And you can't cancel it after the season has begun, nor can you cancel it online. You have to call in so they can try and get you to agree to a lower price and keep you as a subscriber.

They do put a one sentence notice on the billing statement the month before it auto-renews that it will do so. If you have auto pay and paperless billing enabled, you probably won't see it. And they require auto pay and paperless billing if you want the full new subscriber discounts.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:29 PM   #7
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Free Sunday Ticket has been the cornerstone for DirecTV's fall new customer campaign for years now. Nothing new here.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:29 PM   #8
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It's slimeball marketing at it's best.

If you are a new subscriber, you get it free automatically for the first season. It then auto-renews for the 2nd season unless you cancel it. And you can't cancel it after the season has begun, nor can you cancel it online. You have to call in so they can try and get you to agree to a lower price and keep you as a subscriber.

They do put a one sentence notice on the billing statement the month before it auto-renews that it will do so. If you have auto pay and paperless billing enabled, you probably won't see it. And they require auto pay and paperless billing if you want the full new subscriber discounts.
They start billing for it several months before the season begins, so you have a lot of time to cancel it if you choose to do so.

If people want to avail themselves of the convenience of auto-pay and paperless bills, more power to 'em, but that doesn't absolve them of paying attention to what they're buying. If your bill is suddenly $40 or $50 higher than previous months, I'd say it's the customer's responsibility to look into why that is. You have at least two to three months from the time they start the four-monthly-payments billing for Sunday Ticket until the start of the season, so plenty of time to cancel.

I'd say the term 'slimeball marketing' really doesn't apply here. I'd say it's only really slime ball marketing if people don't take any personal responsibility for what they're paying for (which I know fewer and fewer people seem to be doing these days). Not saying that's you, but people have to start taking responsibility for themselves.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:38 AM   #9
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I believe they are offering a 1 year subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket for new customers with a 2 year commitment.

I paid $349 last year as an existing customer for Ticket and this year they offered it to me for $149. Even at $149 I passed. I've determined it's worth $99 to me and nothing more. For $149 I'd rather take that money and go watch the few games that aren't already on TV at a sports bar and have good food/drink.
Call and say "cancel" at the voice prompt. You'll be connected to Retention. Getting it for $99 is a piece of cake. It took me about 2 minutes. Just say several of your friends got it for that price.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:54 AM   #10
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I tried cancelling before the season started when I got the first $50 increase, but they said that was too late. You can only call in and cancel when you get the warning line item with $0 next to it. I was able to do the cancel this month for ESPN Game Plan because the $0 line item was on this month's bill. Why anyone would pay for ESPN Game Plan to see a couple of extra college games in SD (standard definition) is beyond me (but that's another subject).
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:58 AM   #11
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With more games being shown at other times, it has less value than before anyway. There are games on Thursdays and Saturdays as well as Sunday and Monday nights which are not covered by ST.

I called and got it free for this year. They tried to get me to pay $99 for RZ and mobile viewing, but I refused. I'll miss Andrew Sicilliano's comments on RZ, but I can live with it. I'm still actually considering the swap to Dish to save some money, which, of course, means I'd lose ST altogether. If I can find an alternative way to watch my Steelers as I did a couple seasons ago (before the site was shut down), I'd leave right now. It's ridiculous paying nearly $100 a month just to watch TV!
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:03 AM   #12
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I got RZ free again this year, like Tony just said, between all the other time games, and if the Pats are playing at 1 or 4 I'll be watching that. RZ works great for the rest for me.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:12 AM   #13
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I got RZ free again this year, like Tony just said, between all the other time games, and if the Pats are playing at 1 or 4 I'll be watching that. RZ works great for the rest for me.
How did you get RZ for free?

I don't bet on NFL games or play fantasy football so for me, ST would be a waste of money. I only care about watching the Giants and during the early part of the season, during commercials of the Giants I'm switching to the Yankees anyway. RZ would be enough if I'm interested in getting some scores. But I won't pay for it.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:28 AM   #14
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How did you get RZ for free?

I don't bet on NFL games or play fantasy football so for me, ST would be a waste of money. I only care about watching the Giants and during the early part of the season, during commercials of the Giants I'm switching to the Yankees anyway. RZ would be enough if I'm interested in getting some scores. But I won't pay for it.
I got it last year, and I just asked and got it.
No ST, so LITERALLY just the RZ channel for me
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:24 PM   #15
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I saw this commercial as well. It got me annoyed when I first saw it. I know DirecTV pays a lot of money to the NFL for Sunday Ticket exclusivity. If everyone got it for free, that would mean that everyone was paying for it one way or another. I don't want to pay any money for Sunday Ticket. Glad to hear there was fine print.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:08 PM   #16
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I'd say the term 'slimeball marketing' really doesn't apply here. I'd say it's only really slime ball marketing if people don't take any personal responsibility for what they're paying for (which I know fewer and fewer people seem to be doing these days). Not saying that's you, but people have to start taking responsibility for themselves.
Eh, I'd call the commercial at best deceptive marketing, and quite frankly, I'm surprised they haven't been forced to remove it. The *only* thing in the commercial that points out that it's new customers only is some small print at the end. It took me a couple of watches before I saw that. (I knew that it couldn't possibly really be free, but was having problems finding the catch.) I can definitely understand that anyone casually watching the ad would think that it's now free.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:24 PM   #17
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Eh, I'd call the commercial at best deceptive marketing, and quite frankly, I'm surprised they haven't been forced to remove it. The *only* thing in the commercial that points out that it's new customers only is some small print at the end. It took me a couple of watches before I saw that. (I knew that it couldn't possibly really be free, but was having problems finding the catch.) I can definitely understand that anyone casually watching the ad would think that it's now free.
Who do you think the commercial is being aimed at? DirecTV wouldn't be showing those commercials to existing customers. Of course the promotion is for new customers as an enticement to sign up. I've never looked for the small print, but I had no trouble recognizing that this was a promotion for new customers and not something available to all subscribers.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DevdogAZ

Who do you think the commercial is being aimed at? DirecTV wouldn't be showing those commercials to existing customers. Of course the promotion is for new customers as an enticement to sign up. I've never looked for the small print, but I had no trouble recognizing that this was a promotion for new customers and not something available to all subscribers.
As a former DirecTV customer, I think you would be making the correct assumption, but I would also say, as indicated by starting this thread, that it isn't that tough to assume that they (DirecTV) are giving NFL Sunday Ticket to all customers as that is pretty much what it sounds like their spokesperson - Collinsworth - is saying. They should be scolded for the lack of clarity by the FTC :/
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:00 PM   #19
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I tried cancelling before the season started when I got the first $50 increase, but they said that was too late. You can only call in and cancel when you get the warning line item with $0 next to it. I was able to do the cancel this month for ESPN Game Plan because the $0 line item was on this month's bill. Why anyone would pay for ESPN Game Plan to see a couple of extra college games in SD (standard definition) is beyond me (but that's another subject).
The CSR you spoke to was wrong. You can cancel NFLST anytime before the first game of the season.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:02 AM   #20
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The CSR you spoke to was wrong. You can cancel NFLST anytime before the first game of the season.
Correct. I also noticed my "renew" amount was for the full $350 they charged me last year.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:39 PM   #21
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Just got ST for free with a 1 year re-up of my service.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:43 PM   #22
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If you have Sunday Ticket Max, this Thursday evening's preseason games will all be available live in the mobile app.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:52 PM   #23
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I don't think there's anything slimeball about it at all. If they don't let you cancel during the season (I have no idea), you just need to set your phone/email/bedroom alarm to go off sometime during the six months of February through August to remind you to call the 800 number and cancel it. Doesn't seem all that hard to me.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:53 PM   #24
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I don't think there's anything slimeball about it at all. If they don't let you cancel during the season (I have no idea), you just need to set your phone/email/bedroom alarm to go off sometime during the six months of February through August to remind you to call the 800 number and cancel it. Doesn't seem all that hard to me.
Hell you could cancel it after the reg season ends right?

Does ST do anything in the playoffs? Maybe mobile stuff?
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #25
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I don't think there's anything slimeball about it at all. If they don't let you cancel during the season (I have no idea), you just need to set your phone/email/bedroom alarm to go off sometime during the six months of February through August to remind you to call the 800 number and cancel it. Doesn't seem all that hard to me.
I'm not a big fan of the auto renewal because I don't remember anybody every mentioning it to me and I certainly wouldn't have opted for that. Furthermore, they tried to auto renew me at the full price $360+, even though it is less than half that price this year. That is slimeball to me.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:25 PM   #26
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Well, I agree autorenewal sucks.. but its not like Directv invented that. My XM-Sirus does the same thing... and I'm sure a million other things you sign up for (even the 10 dollar special to MLB.net yesterday) do the same thing. They no longer give you an option. I've gotten to the point that I don't let it bother me anymore and just put it in my Outlook calendar to remind me it's time to call and cancel different things.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:51 PM   #27
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Well, I agree autorenewal sucks.. but its not like Directv invented that. My XM-Sirus does the same thing... and I'm sure a million other things you sign up for (even the 10 dollar special to MLB.net yesterday) do the same thing. They no longer give you an option. I've gotten to the point that I don't let it bother me anymore and just put it in my Outlook calendar to remind me it's time to call and cancel different things.
Could we agree that auto renewing you for the current rate would be ethical to your customers?
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:40 PM   #28
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Could we agree that auto renewing you for the current rate would be ethical to your customers?
Sure, but how do you define the "current rate?" I'm sure that the special rate you're referring to is not their actual, published current rate. I'm sure it's just a promotional rate they're willing to give to those who ask for it. But the actual, published current rate is likely what they charge on autorenewals, and there are probably hundreds of thousands of customers who pay that rate every year and don't know any better.

So I put the question back to you: Would you really expect them to charge less than their full rate for an autorenewal?
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:46 PM   #29
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So I put the question back to you: Would you really expect them to charge less than their full rate for an autorenewal?
When they run ads that put a line through the regular (up until this season) "current" rate and advertise the fact that Sunday is now at it's lowest cost in a decade and splash the $199 price across the screen, darn tootin' they should auto-renew at $199 and not $360.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:49 PM   #30
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When they run ads that put a line through the regular (up until this season) "current" rate and advertise the fact that Sunday is now at it's lowest cost in a decade and splash the $199 price across the screen, darn tootin' they should auto-renew at $199 and not $360.
I haven't seen those ads. But I'd bet there's some kind of fine print in the ad that states this is a promotional rate that's only available to qualified subscribers and that it will autorenew at the standard rate in subsequent years if not canceled previously.

Edit: Here's what it says at the DirecTV website:

Quote:
NFL SUNDAY TICKET and NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX will automatically continue each season at special renewal rates unless customer calls to cancel prior to start of season. Subscriptions cannot be cancelled (in part or in whole) after the start of the season and subscription fees cannot be refunded.
So if the "special renewal rate" is different than rate available for people buing ST for the first time, that would make sense.
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