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DirecTV won't charge 'Sunday Ticket' owners for missed games

  • By NFL.com
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DirecTV issued a statement to its "NFL Sunday Ticket" subscribers Thursday, saying no one will be charged for the service unless games are played.

"If the NFL negotiations result in a shortened or canceled season, rest assured that DIRECTV has you covered," the satellite television provider said. "Your subscription to NFL SUNDAY TICKET is risk-free: You will not pay for any game that the NFL does not play."


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The NFL lockout is in its third month, although the league and players held three consecutive days of mediated talks this week.

DirecTV added that a subscriber who already has paid for the 2011 package will receive a credit for every missed week. A subscriber whose package is up for renewal will not be charged until a start date for the 2011 season is confirmed.

"NFL Sunday Ticket," which started in 1994, makes out-of-market games available to viewers. DirecTV has exclusive rights to the package through the 2014 season.

Players have contested the league's TV deals, saying the NFL illegally secured $4.078 billion to build a "lockout fund." The players cited $400 million in revenue from DirecTV, as well as $40 million from ESPN and $17 million from Verizon, as money that the league didn't need to repay if there isn't a 2011 season.

U.S. District Judge David Doty, who has ruled against the league, heard the players' argument for damages May 12, but he hasn't issued a decision.

Lawyer Tom Heiden said the players want $707 million stemming from the TV contracts, plus additional undetermined compensation arising from other rights and compensatory and punitive damages that would punish and deter future behavior. A special master previously awarded the players just $6.9 million in damages, a ruling that the league asked Doty to uphold.

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