NFL Sunday Ticket Sacks Subscribers With Failing Feeds

By Steve Safran 

It was not a good opening day for DIRECTV’s $50 a month NFL Sunday Ticket streaming service. Starting at 1 p.m. ET with the first NFL games, people noticed buffering and quality issues, with some not being able to access a stream at all.

The list went on. I tweeted @DIRECTVService to ask what was wrong. They did not reply. They did, however, reply to a lot of complainers suggesting they check their computer settings or that they call a help line:

I called the number, but got a recording that it was out of service. Once I posted that, DIRECTVService finally took note and responded with a new number to call. But they have not noted on Twitter whether there is a systemic problem. A frustrated user noted on Twitter he managed to get through to tech support:

This lined up with my experience using NFL Sunday Ticket. For about the first half hour, there were clearly network issues. By 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET, my service was much better. But others kept complaining. Why not simply tweet out that the streaming trouble was a known issue and being worked on? @DIRECTVService kept asking people for DM messages (which prevents public viewing) and sending people to phone lines that either didn’t work or which, according to user tweets, had very long waits. And despite screen grabs showing network error messages, the party line Twitter feed noted nothing.

DIRECTV offered NFL Sunday Ticket free today to its TV subscribers to give them a taste. Perhaps that played a role in the streaming load. Whatever happened, users were left in the dark and the company’s support crew made them feel as though the issue was their fault.

1:35 am UPDATE: Although @DIRECTVService wouldn’t answer our questions before publication, once we ran the above article, they quickly responded. However, they still didn’t answer our question: Did you have a network-wide outage?:

That led me to a troubleshooting page that had nothing to do with the issues people were having. People are not reporting having trouble accessing their accounts. The support team clearly did not read the article and only responded with a form Tweet. People saw poor streaming or no streaming at all. I have asked again if there was technical difficulty on their end.