Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Sunday Ticket Debate

Last year, DirecTV had an amazing offer that new customers received the NFL’s Sunday Ticket for free. (I think they still have this offer for new customers this year too.) Although I worried about the possibility of a lockout causing the cancellation of the 2011 season, DirecTV guaranteed free Sunday Ticket for 2012 if this occurred. Fortunately, with the exception of the Steelers-Broncos playoff game where I scared my child, the season took place.

With the 2012 NFL season not too far away, I need to decide my future with Sunday Ticket. The cost of Sunday Ticket this season is $200 which is a significant difference from the $0 I paid last year (like a $200 difference). Since I’m debating whether or not to continue with Sunday Ticket, I thought I would put both the pros and cons of keeping or dropping Sunday Ticket on paper (well, computer screen).

- With Sunday Ticket, I can watch every Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL game.
- I don’t need to leave the house.
- I can DVR/pause the game in case of diaper emergency.
- I can watch the game with my son and teach him to wave the Terrible Towel.
- Without Sunday Ticket, if I’m watching football from home, I’m stuck with the local games. This means lots of Washington Redskins games. That can be torturous.

- $200

I admit that these are weak lists, but the determining factor truly is money. Looking at the NFL TV schedule, between Thursday, Sunday and Monday night games, the NFL scheduled the Steelers for five national games. The Steelers also face Washington and the Steelers-Ravens game not on national TV should air in DC. Plus, there tends to be at least one or two other games available in DC as part of regional coverage. All of this means that at least 7 Steelers games will be available on local TV. Therefore, the question is if I want to pay $200 for about 9 Steelers games.

I also need to factor in probably being away or unavailable for a few games, including the possibility of attending a game at Heinz Field. Now we’re looking at $200 for 7 Steelers games.

If I don’t get Sunday Ticket, I usually watch the Steelers at a local sports bar. Between food and drinks, this generally costs about $20-$25 per week. Additionally, instead of watching the Steelers games from 1:00 to 4:00 at home, going out means leaving the house around noon and not returning until 5:00. That’s a long time away from the family on a weekend day. Therefore, maybe I should ask do I want to pay $140-$175 to watch 7 Steelers games out and deal with any possible consequences of being out so much. (For example, it will be unlikely that I will referee any weekend soccer games being away from home for so many Sunday afternoons.)

So do any of you find yourself in the same scenario? What are your thoughts about the Sunday Ticket dilemma?


Twitter @PITTSPORTSFAN07 said...

I live in Fairfax & have two small children. I have asked myself the same questions, broken down the schedule the same as you, & winced at the cost. In the end I always order it. My wife jokes that she doesn't want to have to listen to me whine every Sunday because I can't watch the Steelers. Truth is, she says I work hard to make a decent living, spend alot of time with my kids, and $200 a year is worth it to keep something that has become a part of who I am. Plus I can pause it to change a diaper, can't do that if I am at a bar. We also feel their is an age where you want to relax at your own house, not hanging out at a bar on Sundays.

MCole said...

First off you have to realize that this year Sunday Ticket is the lowest price in years. Last year it was close to $300. If you go out to a bar to watch the steelers game then you miss out on the possibility of getting to watch additional football. Say your son falls asleep at the end of the steelers 1:00 pm game and you are watching at home, then you might be able to watch part of the 4 pm game. If you were at a sports bar you would have to drive home and lose that extra football watching experience. If you need to justify the expense of the ticket you can do what my wife and I do. Every year my standing anniversary & father's day gift is the sunday ticket. It's what I really want and it saves her the headache of trying to figure out what to get me each year. Your wife will be happier if you stay home to watch the games than if you go out to a sports bar. You can't pause a game and change a diaper if you're at a sports bar. Just saying.

Sean said...

Thanks PittSportsFan07 & MCole. I really appreciate your feedback. I think I'm going to renew Sunday Ticket for another season.

Marc said...

My only advice is hold out on signing up until the last minute. I got a call from DirecTV last year the week before the season started offering a deeply discounted rate (I think it was $20 for the whole season!). Of course, there's always the chance that they could jack up the prices but I highly doubt that would happen.