Dish, Sling TV Add NFL Network & RedZone in Last-Minute Deal

    • Dish and NFL Media announced a carriage agreement less than an hour before Sept. 13 NFL games began.
    • YouTube TV added both channels a week before the 2020 season.

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YouTube TV cut things relatively close by adding the NFL Network and NFL RedZone one week before the 2020 season, but the Dish Network was not to be outdone: the provider announced they added both channels minutes before games kicked off on Sept. 13.

NFL Media and the Dish Network — which owns Sling TV, allowing the streaming service to also add the channels — reached a last-minute multi-year carriage agreement after cutting ties in June. 

For cord-cutters, NFL Network is once again part of the $30-per-month Sling Blue Plan, and NFL RedZone is available as part of the “Sports Extra” add-on for $10. 

The cost breakdown is similar to that of YouTube TV, which added the NFL Network to its $65-per-month base tiers and now offers RedZone in an $11 “Sports Plus” add-on along with various other sports channels. Through the NFL app, the NFL RedZone Pass 2020 alone costs $35. 

At the start of September, Vidgo and fuboTV were the only live TV streaming services that carried the NFL Network and RedZone.

“We’re excited to have reached an agreement that benefits all parties, most importantly our customers and NFL fans,” Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior vice president of programming, said in a release. “Thank you for your patience and understanding as we worked through the negotiations.”

The NFL Network’s 2020 coverage includes a handful of exclusive games and studio programming, including “Good Morning Football,” “NFL Total Access” — which recently named former sideline reporter MJ Acosta its host — and “NFL Now.”

The return of the NFL, and the addition of new viewing options, should prove to be a boon for advertisers looking for sports-hungry eyes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The season-opening game between the Houston Texans and defending Super Bowl Champions drew 20.3 million viewers — down 10.6% from 2019 — but was competing with the NBA and NHL playoffs, Serena Williams at the US Open, MLB, the WNBA, and MLS on a historic night for sports in America. 

In 2019, the NFL accounted for 47 of the top 50 and 73 of the top 100 telecasts in the U.S., and was viewed by 69% of all television homes.