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Sources: DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel Could Be Cancelled

  • Popular 18-year old channel could be axed once Google acquires Sunday Ticket rights.
  • That would leave NFL RedZone as the sole whip-around show on Sundays.
Andrew Siciliano preparing for NFL RED ZONE 
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: It looks like DirecTV’s version of the Red Zone channel will come to an end in 2023.

As a result of Google/YouTube’s $14 billion, 7-year deal for “Sunday Ticket” rights, the NFL will only offer the “NFL RedZone” channel produced by the NFL Network next season. Both channels will continue to operate for the rest of the 2022 season.

“On RedZone, we’re going to focus on the Red Zone produced by NFL Media,” said Dhruv Prasad, the NFL senior vice president, media strategy & strategic investments, on Thursday. “And that’s what will be available on YouTube.”

Debuting in 2005, DirecTV’s Red Zone channel hosted by Andrew Siciliano was the original must-watch whip-around Sunday show for NFL scoring highlights.

Four years later, the NFL Network launched its own version dubbed RedZone. Hosted by Scott Hanson, it too has become a must-watch for many football fans, particularly sports bettors and fantasy players.

Both Hanson and Siciliano work for NFL Network. The NFL has not made any final decisions on talent. But given that Hanson has hosted the league’s version for 13 years, he should be considered the favorite.

Meanwhile, the NFL will continue to “evaluate” potential strategic investors/partners for NFL Media, added Prasad.

PREVIOUS: The long-running battle of the competing NFL Red Zone channels could be coming to a bitter end.

With Google poised to acquire the rights to the NFL’s “Sunday Ticket” package of games for YouTube TV, DirecTV’s long-running Sunday Ticket Red Zone could be eliminated, sources said. 

That would leave NFL Network’s NFL RedZone as the sole whip-around channel for Sunday football highlights next season.

DirecTV launched the original Red Zone in 2005. 

Over its 18-year history with host Andrew Siciliano, the show has become must-see TV for many NFL fans – especially fantasy players and sports bettors.

In 2009, the league launched its “NFL RedZone” version on NFL Network.  

Hosted by Scott Hanson, the newer Red Zone is also hugely popular. Many fans say they’re unable to watch Sunday games any other way.

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It’s still early in the process. Sources said that no decisions had been made on who will host future Red Zone channels or other production decisions.

But DirecTV might not be completely done with Sunday Ticket, said sources. There’s still a chance the satellite giant could hold on to the “commercial” account encompassing over 300,000 bars and restaurants either directly with the NFL or via sub-license with Google.

A change in media rights holders often leads to painful consequences for networks, on-air talent, and viewers.

When NBC Sports acquired the “Sunday Night Football” rights in 2006, it also landed highlight rights for its “Football Night in America” pregame show.

That spelled doom for one of the greatest sports studio shows of all time: ESPN’s “NFL Primetime,” with Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. 

ESPN has struggled ever since to bring “Primetime” back to TV, including a new version with Berman and Booger McFarland on its ESPN+ streaming platform.

But Berman, ESPN’s former face and voice, has publicly lamented about losing the favorite show of his career.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Google was in “advanced talks” with the NFL to land the subscription-only Sunday Ticket package, beating out other bidders like Amazon, Apple, and Disney. The New York Times reported the league could fetch $2.5 billion for the rights. 

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