Warren Sapp's Next Career Move: TV Judge

Newly bankrupt former NFL player and ex-NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp has come up with a creative way to generate funds for his creditors: he's starring in his own courtroom television show, "Judge Sapp," which was filmed in California last weekend.

Move over, Judy. There’s a new judge presiding – and he’s got his own legal issues.

The former defensive tackle, on the heels of losing his gig at NFL Network after he alleged that Jeremy Shockey was the Saints “Bountygate” whistleblower, must establish a new revenue stream somehow after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and this is how he’s going to do it: he’s becoming a television courtroom judge.

Yes, the man who once flourished with the ranks of Alan Branch and Albert Haynesworth, is now joining the likes of Joe Brown and Joseph Wapner.

Don’t believe me? Check out this photo he tweeted Sunday morning of him “in my chambers deliberating.”

Further proof that the show exists: An item on the website of Onset Productions, which appears to be behind the show, seeking a “paid audience” to attend tapings of the show, which according to Onset’s calendar of events, was filmed in Glendale, CA between April 27 and 29, with two tapings per day; no future tapings of the show have been scheduled for the month of May. Onset also arranges audience members for the currently-in-syndication “Steve Wilkos Show.” Wilkos, you may recall, became popular on “The Jerry Springer Show” during the late-90’s “fight” era, so much so that Steve pulled a Joey Tribbiana and decided to get his own show.

Anyway, a description on Onset’s site for “Judge Sapp” reads: “As a studio audience member, you will be watching and reacting to court cases as presiding Judge Warren Sapp decides who is right and wrong.”

Yeah, who better to decide who’s right and wrong than someone who made head-scratching financial decisions like springing for dozens of pairs of Jordans and a lioness skin rug. How would you like the fate of your freedom in the hands of a guy like that?

I also found what appears to be a rough draft for a show title animation for the program by Loop Design, which describes “Judge Sapp” as “an irreverent, sports-themed version of The People’s Court, with the honorable judge Warren Sapp presiding.”

You mean, the same honorable Warren Sapp that owes thousands of dollars in child support to five different women? Geez, what an honor.

I also found this Instagram of someone who appears to be a plaintiff being tried by Judge Sapp. “Warren Sapp was my judge [today],” wrote Heidi Monroe-Blanco, attached to a photo of a sign that reads, “Plaintiff Holding.”

And here’s another Instagram from someone who appears to be involved in the production of the show, Jamie Hall. “Break time with the ladies on Judge Sapp’s show!”

There’s going to be ladies on this program? Will they be called “The Bailiff Babes”?

Apparently, the first person on Earth who got wind of this show being produced is Los Angeles based actor and aspiring filmmaker Justin Pope. “Laugh out loud,” he tweets, “Warren Sapp is coming out with a judge show called Judge Sapp, ROTFL.”

Well, Justin, if somebody actually picks up this show, I’ll be ROTFL along with you.


Audio: ESPN Radio New York Starts On 98.7 FM

This aircheck consists of the final break on 98.7 as Kiss-FM, and the first as ESPN Radio New York 98.7, in which Stephen A. Smith already declares the Knicks/Heat playoff series over, after Miami defeated New York 100-66 in Game 1.


ESPN Radio Ready To Play Ball On FM In New York City?

There are rumblings that ESPN Radio in New York City could finally land an FM signal, which would possibly give them more leverage in acquiring local radio rights to Yankees baseball - provided rival WFAN doesn't also make the jump to FM in response.

Earlier this year, I wrote a full-length article on the sports radio landscape in New York which, at the moment, consists of two stations, both on the AM dial. Meanwhile, many other radio markets (some with up to four stations in the format) have at least one sports radio signal on the FM band.

Note that in the previous paragraph, I wrote “at the moment.” That’s because the sports radio void on FM in Market No. 1 is about to come to an end.

It is being reported that ESPN is currently in the process of nailing down a deal for an unidentified FM station in New York City, so that the programming currently heard on AM 1050 can move to their new FM property, while the content on 1050, as I have previously speculated and others are doing so today, would switch to the feed of the Spanish-language ESPN Deportes network.

The station currently known as “ESPN New York 1050” holds the radio rights for the Jets, Knicks and Rangers – and an FM station could buoy their chances of landing the Yankees, whose current radio deal with WCBS-AM expires this year.

Sources say that an ESPN deal for an FM stick could be reached as soon as this week. A perfect launching pad for the new FM signal could be Thursday night’s NFL Draft, which emanates from Radio City Music Hall.

The FM signal most anticipated to convert to ESPN in New York City would be 94.7 WFME, licensed to Newark, NJ. Their signal is limited on Long Island – where a huge population of Jets fans resides – but as Radio Insight’s Lance Venta points out, the 1050 AM and 94.7 FM signals “complement each other” (of course, that’s considering 1050 AM remains with their current English-language ESPN Radio programming). An ESPN Radio spokesperson told Radio Business Report that they “have nothing to announce” at this time (shocker). Likewise, getting an answer from Family Radio about the fate of WFME-FM may have also been akin to pulling teeth, but I would consider it a far more pleasant experience than actually having a tooth pulled. I spoke to Judi Rathbone, the secretary of Programming for Family Radio in California, and while she had pointed out that sister stations WFSI in the Washington, D.C. area and WKDN in the Philadelphia area were sold (the latter switching to a conservative talk format just this week, in fact), she had heard nothing about a possible sale of WFME-FM. When I pointed out what many local news outlets in New York, as well as radio news sources, were reporting, Rathbone tells me that it’s “just speculation,” adding, “We did have a few [parties] that were interested in purchasing WFME.”

Not only is it known which station is ESPN’s likely target, but given the phrasing of the report – “a long-term programming rights deal” – it is also possible that ESPN could enter what is known as a local-marketing agreement (LMA) with another station. So it could be possible that WFME may not be the station in question – but then, if WFME is not for sale, then how come they switched from a non-commercial license to a commercial one earlier this year (as covered in my post on this earlier this year)?

Let’s go down the New York radio dial and break down the possible suitors, frequency by frequency:

92.3 WXRK: Forget it. CBS Radio, owner of ESPN rival 66 WFAN, runs this station. In fact, if ESPN should gain a presence on the FM dial in the Big Apple, 92.3 would be a prime candidate to flip to a simulcast of WFAN… you know, to even the playing field. When a new FM sports talker in Philadelphia went on the air, CBS stood pat and left their legendary WIP on the AM dial, and watched as “97.5 The Fanatic” ate into WIP’s audience and revenues. As of last fall, WIP is now on FM in Philly. CBS would know better not to make the same mistake again. No dice here…

92.7 WQBU: The former WLIR/WDRE. Niche Mexican music on a fringe signal on Long Island. Nope…

93.1 WPAT: Spanish music, licensed to Paterson, NJ, but serving the city. Used to be a popular easy listening station back in the day. A possibility…

93.5 WVIP: Licensed to Westchester but receivable in most parts of the city. RBR.com says it’s possible…

93.9 WNYC-FM: NPR – i.e. non-commercial license. Not happening here…

94.7 WFME: The leader in the clubhouse…

95.5 WPLJ: While their ratings are mediocre, they bill very well. Yet RBR says this, too, could be a candidate…

96.3 WXNY: Univision acquired this signal just a few years ago, and it’s now in the top ten. Next…

97.1 WQHT: This station usually contends nicely with rival Power 105.1 particularly in the summertime. Yet owner Emmis has had financial troubles of late – so much so that they sold 101.9 to Merlin Media (much to ESPN’s chagrin). This would be a dark horse to land ESPN programming, provided Emmis is ready to unload another big city signal – and some radio observers agree

97.9 WSKQ: The leading Spanish music station in the city. Nope…

98.3 WKJY: Serves Long Island, so no go here…

98.7 WRKS: Also owned by cash-strapped Emmis, but “98.7 Kiss-FM” is a perennial top ten station, so a sale of this signal over WQHT would truly shock me…

99.5 WBAI: Another strong possibility, except for one problem: Owner Pacifica has been mighty stingy to give up this prized signal, right smack dab in the middle of the FM dial. ESPN could offer WBAI that suitcase that Jules and Vince had in the movie “Pulp Fiction” and they still wouldn’t budge. I would say 50/50 here, but they’re also operating with a non-commercial license…

100.3 WHTZ: The world famous Z-100. Pop radio royalty. Not happening here…

101.1 WCBS: The revamped “CBS-FM” is also doing well – and it’s also owned by CBS, which also owns WFAN, so this is off the market…

101.9 WEMP: Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels confirms ESPN will not take over the signal they have owned for nine months now…

102.7 WNEW: Also owned by CBS Radio. Next…

103.5 WKTU: Like Z-100, all of Clear Channel’s FM stations are performing great. So their cluster will probably be off the market, too.

103.9 WFAS: The longtime White Plains-based station recently moved their city of license to The Bronx. Maybe, maybe not…

104.3 WAXQ: Clear Channel (see above)…

105.1 WWPR: Clear Channel (see above)…

105.9 WQXR: Now operated by WNYC, which means non-commercial…

106.7 WLTW: Lite-FM. ‘Nuff said. (Oh yeah: Clear Channel – see above…)

107.5 WBLS: This was another likely candidate for assuming ESPN programming on FM, as I pointed out in my original post on this issue. But Inner City, which also has its own financial troubles, does not appear to be putting this station on the market at this time. or, as Randy Michaels tells RBR: “I don’t think WFME has come on the market… Not likely to be WBLS… More likely BS.”

Come this weekend, New York sports radio listeners will find out for sure if ESPN becomes the first sports radio station in the area on the FM dial.

Or if people were just BS-ing them.

NFL Network Drops Ball On Mickey Loomis Eavesdropping Report

Why did NFL Network mysteriously neglect to acknowledge a report that Saints GM Mickey Loomis eavesdropped on opposing teams' coaches from 2002 through 2004? Instead, NFLN's "Total Access" spent more time speculating on this year's NFL Draft.

On a day in which the allegation of Bountygate-riddled Saints general manager Mickey Loomis using a reprogrammed electronic device to listen in on coaches of opposing teams for three years rocked the NFL, you’d have to wonder how the league-run network would cover the report on their nightly “Total Access” program.

Unfortunately, an hour later, you’re left wondering.

You would think that this story, even if based on unnamed sources’ accounts, would warrant A-block time on NFL Network’s version of “SportsCenter.” Instead, the show was devoted mostly to the upcoming NFL Draft on Thursday night, and featured panel segments with analysts from Brian Billick to Willie McGinest. The top story was on the Dolphins’ interest in drafting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the number 8 overall pick. The next item wasn’t even a news story – it was speculation on what the Vikings will do with the number 3 draft pick, which consisted of a field report from Minnesota, and a tet-a-tet between McGinest and Daryl “Moose” Johnston. This would be followed by a similar package involving the Browns, who will be on the clock with the number 4 pick after the Vikings make their selection. Other segments on the program included a discussion on whether Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III would be entering a better situation upon their being drafted to their respective teams, and a piece on number 1 overall draft picks, “The Ones.”

In fact, it seems that the top non-draft-related item on Monday night’s “Total Access” was the news of Eagles and Broncos safety Brian Dawkins retiring.

Incidentally, on this night, NFL Network debuted a new chyron scheme. In conjunction with this was a giant bar above the scrolling ticker, which fed nonstop data related to this year’s NFL Draft, including a draft order legend, and mock drafts from NFLN analysts like Mike Mayock and Charley Casserly. For high-definition viewers. this bar lopped off the “rundown” bar on the left side of the screen. So you couldn’t even check in and look for a tab teasing the Saints story.

I’m curious as to why NFL Network would choose to avoid acknowledging the report of Loomis’ eavesdropping. Think about it: they were all over the Saints’ Bountygate scandal. Hell, one of their own personalities even fingered who he deemed “the snitch” in the whole thing (and as a result, is no longer with the network). Could it be that since it’s currently at a stage where it’s simply allegations, they’re choosing not to report on it? Or is it because ESPN broke the story with open arms? I would hate to think it would be the latter.

Then again, if you look on NFL.com while “Total Access” was on the air Monday night, you’ll find “headlines” such as the offseason roster expanding by ten players, and the Titans’ quarterback situation. You’ll also find articles pondering how the NFL would be affected if Andrew Luck were drafted in 2011, or wondering if Tony Romo is “Done in Dallas?” Nada on Spygate South.

In fact, as of post time, the most recent news item on NFL.com regarding the Saints is a frenzy of a different nature – team owner Tom Benson placing his granddaughter, believed to be the successor of the team should Tom pass on, on unpaid administrative leave as a result of “a pattern of behavior” exhibited by the 35-year-old woman. The item reads on NFL.com that Benson “is using the leave to send a wake-up call.”

Incidentally, now would be a good time to give the National Football League a wake-up call: Why keep NFL Network viewers and NFL.com readers in the dark on a report that, while cited by anonymous sources, could mushroom into an even bigger headache for the Saints in the long run? I mean, how hard is it to put Lindsay Rhodes in front of a Teleprompter and inform viewers of this report, and that the Saints are denying said report? Are you afraid it might be a missed opportunity to promote “The Top 100 NFL Players Of 2012”?

Certainly, the NFL understands that there are dozens of other popular sports news sources that are making a mention of the alleged Loomis eavesdropping. As of 8 PM ET on Monday night, it’s the top headline item on Yahoo! Sports’ NFL page. Ditto for CBS Sports’ NFL page. The top trending story on The Sporting News’ NFL page: “Loomis Accused.” Loomis accounted for the top headline item on FoxSports.com’s main page, as well as that of Pro Football Weekly.

Even the popular political news aggregator The Drudge Report has an item on it that reads, “Report: NFL team bugged opposing coaches box for 3 years…”

It’s one thing if ESPN is breaking a football story before NFL Network.

But if even The Drudge Report beats you to a significant football-related news item, that is not good.

It’s as if Roger Goodell is covering his eyes, hoping the report dies down quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he issued a gag order on all NFLN personnel to even mention the Saints on Monday’s broadcast.

I don’t want to take anything away from NFL Network. Everyone involved does a superb job putting together content for “Total Access” that viewers – football fans – would be interested in.

I would think they’d be interested in hearing about a report that the general manager of a team that won the Super Bowl a few years ago was listening in on the other teams’ coaches for a few years, wouldn’t you?

Especially if it’s the same team that’s got Bountygate casting a bayou-like shadow on them.

But, no, that can wait. Let’s break down Ryan Tannehill’s draft stock while we still can!

I thought devoting a segment to sandwiches modeled after Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez was the worst day of journalism on NFL Network.

I was wrong.

UPDATE: Well, it was a day and a few minutes overdue, but three minutes into Tuesday night’s “Total Access” broadcast, Andrew Siciliano finally reported on the Eavesdropgate allegations – and yes, he credited ESPN with first reporting the story on Monday. They also had Steve Wyche, currently stationed in Virginia for Redskins draft duties, file a report on the matter. And yes, at around 7:39 PM ET, the top headline on NFL.com reads: “Authorities investigating alleged wiretapping by Saints GM.” I knew the league wouldn’t have their head in the sand on this issue, but this still begs the question: what took so long?

Saints Seek Suit Against ESPN For Report Of Superdome Spygate Sequel

ESPN reported Monday via sources that Saints GM Mickey Loomis was able to listen to opposing coaches' conversations during games at the Superdome for three years. The Saints are now "seeking legal recourse" against ESPN - but this Spygate sequel is clearly a bigger issue that should be played out first.

I know we’re seven years removed from the devastation that was Hurricane Katrina, but for the New Orleans Saints, when it rains, it monsoons.

Following the Bountygate scandal – for which team personnel including head coach Sean Payton were suspended, and player suspensions are still due to be handed down, perhaps this week – comes word of a possible Spygate sequel, with allegations that general manager Mickey Loomis had arranged for an electronic device, installed by previous GM Randy Mueller, for the purpose of listening in on other Saints coaching staff members, to be rigged so that Loomis could be able to eavesdrop on opposing coaches during games played at the Superdome.

This was first reported Monday afternoon by ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” unit. Naturally, not only are the Saints denying these allegations, of which ESPN cites “sources familiar with Saints game-day operations”, the team is planning to sue the network.

According to New Orleans television station WWL – not to be confused with WWL, as in the Worldwide Leader, ESPN – Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel deems the story “1000 percent false” and “completely inaccurate.” Bensel claims ESPN “refused… to provide us evidence to support their allegations.” With that, the Saints are now considering “all legal recourse regarding these false allegations.”

Louisiana attorney Jim Letten was quoted in the ESPN report as being informed of the allegations on Friday and is “not at liberty to comment” on this situation.

Sources claim that while Loomis watched Saints games at a suite in the Superdome, he used an earpiece to listen to communications from opposing coaches during games, manipulating a switch to toggle between offensive coaches for whomever the Saints’ opponent was that day, or their defensive coaches. This allegedly went on for just three seasons, between 2002 and 2004, during which, as ESPN points out, the Saints had a .500 record at the Superdome, as well a similar overall record (25-23) for those three seasons. The technology was rendered inoperable as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and in the ensuing season, in which the Saints would not be able to play a game at the Superdome for the entire season, the Saints went 3-13.

While Loomis may evade possible criminal prosecution since the statute of limitations following the most recent alleged offense falls outside the maximum five year window, it’s certain that the NFL could issue a stern punishment on top of the eight-game suspension he’s scheduled to serve for his role in Bountygate.

Spygate, you may recall, was the name given to the New England Patriots’ signal-videotaping scandal back in 2007; it cost them $750,000 in fines and a first-round draft pick.

If what I am dubbing “Spygate South” is proven, on top of Bountygate… maybe they should be forced to forfeit their Super Bowl championship.

But back to the lede in this particular post: Go ahead and sue ESPN, Saints. And while you’re at it, ask them about that “Deep Waters” headline they churned out when the first rumblings of Bountygate emerged.

Let’s take it one step at a time: let’s prove these allegations against Mickey Loomis first. If he’s found not guilty, then feel free to throw all the slander lawsuits you want at the Worldwide Leader – it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

As much as I personally prefer NFL Network when it comes to football news, I have to say, for breaking a story of this magnitude, with ramifications that could possibly set a franchise back for years, it feels good to be ESPN.

Not so much if you’re a Saints fan.

Or if you’re Mickey Loomis.

Grab your umbrella.

Be sure to read SportsRantz’ Anthony DiMoro’s take on the Mickey Loomis eavesdropping allegations.

What If ESPN Used The Headline "100 Years Of Ass Kicking"?

"100 Years Of Ass Kicking" is the headline of the New York Post on the day after the Yankees beat the Red Sox on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park's first day of operations. Imagine if ESPN.com had used this headline.

Friday, April 20 marked 100 years to the day that Fenway Park in Boston opened for business. So, naturally, the team that Major League Baseball would schedule to play the Boston Red Sox on this day would be their bitter division rival, the New York Yankees.

The Yankees would go on to defeat the Red Sox in that game, 6-2. But count on the New York Post to hit another “foul” with the latest in a line of headlines in the vicinity of vulgarity.

“100 Years Of Ass Kicking.”

Once again, the Post coming through with a front page headline designed to spike sales – especially on Saturday, which is traditionally the slowest of newspaper circulation days – which, at the same time, is a bit far-fetched.

Even Darren Rovell, NBC Universal’s ace sports business reporter, agrees, telling me it’s “pretty insane… not too accurate, either.” He clarified in a subsequent tweet that “while the NY Post cover is funny, the Yanks have hardly kicked the Red Sox butt over the last century.” Rovell, ever the numbers guy, cites the Yankees have won just 54% of their games against the Red Sox throughout their storied history.

In fact, over the last five years, including Friday’s game, the Red Sox have actually won 47 of 91 games against the Yankees, including a 12-6 record last season. From 2008 through 2010, both teams were deadlocked at 9-9 through their games. Add all these to a record “through 2006” cited by one source, and you have an all-time record of 1120-929 in favor of the Yankees – which is actually closer to 55% – but still, as many people like Rovell would agree, is not necessarily an “ass kicking” by any means.

But this is exactly how the Post gets their jollies: headlines that get folks talking. It’s been about half a year since the Post dubbed the short-lived marriage of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphires a “Big A$$ Sham” on November 1, 2011. The Post has even used such language against one of the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez, in February 2009, when amid confessing he used steroids, the tabloid labeled “A-Rod” as “A-Hole” – that is, unless you read the subheadline, which read, “Alex digs himself in deeper as ‘roid crisis rages.” Oh, okay.

The Post is also no stranger to mixing in a little defecation on the front page. Remember back in the summer of 2008 when then-Mets manager Jerry Manuel referred to fans as manure? “$#!t Hits The Fans” read the headline, with the Mets logo attached to it. In fact, it’s one of several times that the rag has “went there” with the front page headline.

You can also depend on the Post for suggestive front pages. Last year, when the Jets eliminated the Patriots from the NFL playoffs, the Post zeroed in defensive end Shaun Ellis (ironically, now with the Patriots) sacking quarterback Tom Brady in a moment that appears to suggest otherwise. Underneath the TSA-tweaking headline “Pat Down” read the subheadline, “Jets slam Brady’s junk.” And who can forget just a couple of months ago, when on the back page, following a Knicks victory led by a clinching shot by Jeremy Lin as time expired, the Post used the headline, “Amasian.”

Ah, yes. Linsanity. The era of Knicks basketball where anybody and everybody was mesmerized, including the sports media. Especially ESPN. Who can forget when up to four uses of the term “chink in the armor” were used among the Worldwide Leader’s various platforms when discussing Jeremy Lin, resulting in the termination of a five-year employee responsible for the use of the phrase as a headline attached to a story about the first Knicks loss following many wins after Lin became a starter.

Compare that to the many Post headlines I’ve brought to your attention, and consider this: Imagine if you went on ESPN.com on Friday and, attached to a story of the Yankees beating the Red Sox on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park opening its doors, was the exact headline the Post used – “100 Years Of Ass Kicking”? (Obviously, the graphic attached to this item is a composite.) Think about it: the Yankees and the Red Sox are among the sports franchises most often covered by ESPN, leading many to affix an East Coast bias to the Worldwide Leader. Certainly, national sports networks shouldn’t play favorites. Conceivably, such a headline might not be well-received by Red Sox Nation – but at the same time, everyone else, even Yankee fans, who get their sports news from ESPN might think that headline would be a bit too much.

That’s why the New York Post can get away with headlines like “A-Hole” and “$#!t Hits The Fans” and ESPN can’t, nor should they. Such language is not what you should expect from the entity that calls itself “the worldwide leader in sports”. The Post, on the other hand, is doing anything it possibly can to sell papers – especially at a time when newspapers are plotting for survival in a 21st century digital world by erecting “paywalls”, while others such as the Cincinnati Post become extinct. (Though with the New York Post currently looking up at the New York Daily News, the New York Times, and even the Washington Post, they’ve got some work to do.)

Especially in the wake of Federico-gate, it would be hard to fathom such controversial headlines on ESPN’s website (though they’ve certainly come close when Bountygate reared its ugly head). Add in the fact that ESPN is controlled by the family-friendly Walt Disney Company, and you would imagine that there’s a “zero tolerance policy” for vulgarity in effect at the Worldwide Leader.

Also, consider ESPN rival FOX Sports is operated by News Corporation, which owns the New York Post. You rarely hear of any controversial headlines on their website. Columnists, maybe. But never racy headlines attached to sports stories. FOX Sports and ESPN would rather not use profane, or profanity-bordering, headlines like the Post does, and risk losing sponsorships in the lucrative sports business, while in 2012, money in the newspaper industry is hard to come by.

So unless an ESPN intern exhibits a fit of rage, this is why you won’t find headlines like “100 Years Of Ass Kicking” on ESPN.com, and why such headlines are the status quo for the New York Post.

Well, that, and attaching Yankee tie-ins to murders of dictators.

DirecTV Scalps Sunday Ticket Price By 39%

DirecTV has gained 1.1 million new subscribers from their promotion of a free "NFL Sunday Ticket" package. Now, they're hoping to double down on that number by rolling back the price of the package from $325 to $199.95.

DirecTV has been taking a direct approach in recruiting new customers – by offering its coveted “NFL Sunday Ticket” package free for one year.

Now, it appears they’re taking care of their existing subscriber base. The satellite provider announced that they’re drastically slashing the price of “NFL Sunday Ticket” by nearly 40%. The package, which bore a price tag of $325 annually, has been marked down to about $200. Optional access to view “Ticket” games on mobile devices is $100 for both new and existing customers.

DirecTV is hoping that the repriced package will encourage most of their 20 million subscribers to sign up for it (only between 2 and 3 million subscribers out of 20 million ordered the service as of last year). They are also optimistic that newer subscribers – lured by an advertising campaign that featured Hall of Fame player Deion Sanders as somewhat of a “football fairy” – that switched to DirecTV and ordered “NFL Sunday Ticket” would be likely to keep the package if it carried a more appealable $199.95 price, as opposed to upwards of $300.

DirecTV claims they added 1.1 million new customers since they started the “free NFL Sunday Ticket” promotion, and anticipates that while the package’s new price will result in the company losing money, they can grow revenues if they add anywhere from an additional 100,000 new subscribers to another 1.1 million.

Here’s something to keep in mind: DirecTV is in the latter years of a 20-year deal which grants them exclusive rights to out-of-market NFL games. Traditional cable operators – notably Cablevision – believe they should be able to carry the package on their systems (this is the main reason why Cablevision does not carry NFL Network). Currently, some cable subscribers may receive access to “Ticket” through their computers. But we bet they’d rather be watching the action on an HDTV, rather than a monitor.

This could be a hidden reason for the new cost of the “Ticket” package – I call it, “the Sunday Ticket reelection campaign”: make it reasonably priced to the point that it wins over millions of new customers, customers who would remain loyal to DirecTV, and not be distracted by any other means of digital entertainment – cable systems, FiOS, Hulu, Netflix, and most of all, DirecTV’s rival satellite carrier, Dish Network. With the “popular vote” in their favor, DirecTV would then embark in a new deal with the NFL, and eventually jack the price of the “NFL Sunday Ticket” package back up, just in time for the 2014 football season.

Business is business.

And without “NFL Sunday Ticket”, it’s likely DirecTV would be out of business.