With pro sports still in mothballs due to the pandemic, including big-league baseball and soccer, DirecTV said it will be giving its customers a break on the MLB Extra Innings and MLS Direct Kick out-of-market pay packages.
DirecTV owner AT&T posted the news on its COVID-19 update website, adding that rebates it gets from programmers whose sports it paid for will be provided to customers.
“With the professional baseball and soccer seasons postponed or suspended, our customers who subscribed to MLB Extra Innings and MLS Direct Kick will receive credits for any payments already made toward their subscription and we have postponed future charges until we learn more from the leagues,” the company said.
For subscribers who may not prefer the version of either sport when it resumes under social distancing, it is providing the option to decide whether they want to cancel the subscription two weeks into those sports’ respective returns.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in contact with programmers and sports leagues as they plan their next steps,” AT&T said. “Any rebates we receive from programmers and sports leagues will be provided to our customers.”
Cable and broadband providers have been under some pressure to cut their subs a break, though they have been putting similar pressure on programmers to do the same given the rights fees they charge that are then passed on to customers.
AT&T was one of the companies New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote to last month asking them to provide COVID-19-related relief by cutting or dropping live sports-related fees, saying it and others “must prepare and provide a plan for “appropriate refunds, discounts and reductions of charges and fees, payment deferrals, and waiver of termination fees, at least until live sports programming is resumed.”
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.