Sen. Hutchison Signals Touchdown For DirecTV Rights Extension

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, gave the NFL a shout-out for their renewal of NFL's Sunday Ticket package of games with DirecTV through 2014.

The four-year deal, pegged at about $4 billion, includes offering the out-of-market games package to broadband outlets in markets where there is no satellite service.

That sat well with the legislator. "It is important for consumers to have enhanced viewing options," said Hutchison in a statement late Monday. "The NFL and DirecTV have worked out an arrangement that will preserve, and even enhance the experience for millions of consumers without government intervention. It is also important that parties work together to find innovative ways to offer such content to areas where satellite service is unavailable."

The NFL package has frequently surfaced in arguments about programming exclusivity, with cable operators battling the NFL Network over carriage, often pointing out that they do not have access to the NFL Sunday Ticket.

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.