Getting NFL Games Over the Web

DirecTV's pricey service must navigate Sling Media's merger with rival EchoStar

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DirecTV's satellite service has long delivered more televised NFL football to fans willing to open their wallets, and it's now delivering it without the satellite or TV. The company this season launched its Supercast service, which offers all televised NFL games (except those blacked out by broadcasters) for viewing over the Web.

The service is said to have stumbled in its first week or two, but it worked well during a brief look I got last weekend. Supercast delivers decent, though not broadcast-quality, video to a desktop or laptop with a broadband connection. Much like DirecTV's premium NFL broadcasts, the service integrates statistics into the Web video. Users can select between different stats, such as on team offense and defense, or on individual players. In short, it's a fantasy footballer's dream come true.

But I won't get another look because I don't subscribe to DirecTV, much less the nearly $400 SuperFan premium package that includes the Web service. That's in contrast to Major League Baseball, which operates its own Web service for all comers. The NFL offers its Web video through DirecTV because the satellite broadcaster already carries all the week's games as a premium package.

In turn, DirecTV hired Sling Media to get the Web service working. Now Sling is being bought by EchoStar, which competes with DirecTV. All sides said they intend to make nice, but stay tuned: Dish and DirecTV are fierce rivals that can trash talk each other as well as any NFL linemen.


TAGS:
television
NFL
MLB

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