DirecTV will once again raise prices for its “NFL Sunday Ticket” games package, despite concern over ongoing erosion of the pro football league’s TV audience base.
According to TVAnswerMan blogger Phillip Swan, who closely tracks the satellite TV operator, AT&T-owned DirecTV will up the full-season price of the package by $12 to $293.94.
That’s a 4.2% increase, compared to the 9.3% price bump DirecTV announced a year ago for the 2017 season.
This year’s price increase comes despite a Wall Street Journal report in September that DirecTV was issuing refunds to some customers who were unhappy about NFL players kneeling in protest during pre-game political ceremonies featuring the National Anthem.
The national spotlight for these kneeling protests was intensified when President Donald Trump issued a profane rebuke of the participating players last fall. For the NFL, the PR problem became compounded when fans on the other side of the issue began wondering how the quarterback who started the protest, Colin Kaepernick, could be blackballed from the NFL despite having a statistical ranking higher than most currently employed backup QBs.
Certainly, the dissonance of those fans has to be factored in, as well.
Whatever the cause, NFL ratings continue to spiral downward. NBC, for example, averaged 18.2 million viewers for its set of Sunday and Thursday night games, its lowest turnout in a decade.