This afternoon, the WSJ reported on a new policy under which AT&T’s DirecTV, the exclusive provider of the NFL Sunday Ticket package that allows viewers to watch out-of-market NFL games otherwise unavailable due to the league’s regressive approach to broadcast rights, will grant user refunds:
DirecTV is allowing at least some customers to cancel subscriptions to its Sunday Ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds, if they cite players’ national anthem protests as the reason for discontinuing service, customer service representatives said Tuesday.
Under Sunday Ticket’s regular policy, refunds are not to be given once the season is underway. But the representatives said they are making exceptions this season—which began in September—because of the controversy over the protests, in which players kneel or link arms during the national anthem.
Mark Hoffman, a longtime subscriber to Sunday Ticket, which gives sports fans the ability to watch every Sunday game, said in an interview he was able to cancel his subscription on Monday. The package costs around $280 per-season.
“I honestly didn’t think I’d get a refund,” Mr. Hoffman said. “I know their guidelines, I just wanted to make a point.” Mr. Hoffman, a former business editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, said he made his case successfully to a customer service representative after sitting through a recording saying cancellations weren’t an option.
Intrigued, I wondered whether DirecTV would offer refunds to subscribers who want to cancel because of the historic rise in penalty calls that is making this season’s games nearly unwatchable. And what about those who now want to cancel in protest over DirecTV’s policy of providing refunds to subscribers who cancelled to protest the players’ protest? According to DirecTV, all of those options may be on the table:
I generally support any policy under which users can receive refunds for sports-broadcast services they’ve already purchased, and the more absurd and tangential the reason for the refund request, the better.