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DirecTV Extends NFL Contract

DirecTV announced it has extended by five years its exclusive contract with the National Football League (NFL) to carry out-of-market football games in its NFL Sunday Ticket package.

The agreement, which was said to be worth $3.5 billion, gives DirecTV exclusive multichannel rights to carry games through the 2010 season.

At the same time, DirecTV said it has extended its carriage agreement with NFL Network, which currently airs on channel 212 as part of DirecTV’s Total Choice basic package.

“Our DirecTV partnership complements and supports our broadcast television packages,” said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. “DirecTV has been a great partner and this new agreement expands our joint commitment to the ongoing development of innovative ways for fans to enjoy the NFL.”

“With the enhancements that we will make to NFL Sunday Ticket we will recreate the NFL viewing experience — an experience that only DirecTV will be able to offer sports fans,” said Chase Carey, DirecTV Group’s CEO said.

The new agreement gives DirecTV the right to develop and expand the NFL Sunday Ticket with new features, enhanced interactive services and expanded programming for NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers, DirecTV said.

In addition to the standard NFL Sunday Ticket package, DirecTV will offer a premium NFL Sunday Ticket package that will deliver enhanced interactive features and services, and expanded programming.

The premium Sunday Ticket tier will offer such interactive services as viewer-selected camera angles and replays. Also included will be a new “Red Zone” channel, which will be devoted to switching from game to game to take viewers live to game telecasts when a team is about to score.

The premium package will provide viewers with the ability to index, search for and view plays of a specific NFL player, team or play-type from games played that Sunday, DirecTV said.

DirecTV has an exclusive opportunity to develop and distribute, for the first time, enhanced and exclusive versions of NFL post-season games, including the Super Bowl.

DirecTV customers with a digital video recorder (DVR) who currently receive the highlights on demand feature will receive expanded NFL-related content and highlights downloaded to their DVR hard drives.

DirecTV will also have the right to provide remote access to NFL Sunday Ticket games and content to Sunday Ticket subscribers via broadband or wireless devices.

DirecTV’s plan for new interactive video and football-related features for premium NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers will include such services as an NFL Sunday Ticket mosaic channel that will show multiple games on one screen, making it easier for a viewer to select which game to watch.