Let’s watch a football game ... for $5,000
Questions which have confounded humankind from the beginning:
Can you talk down to someone who is taller than you?
Why is a No. 2 pencil more popular than No. 1?
How far do bald people go when they wash their face?
To be or not to be?
Question which confounds humankind today:
Where is the game on and how much is it going to cost me to watch it?
In the case of Eric Anderson, the answer is this: The Giants (and everyone else) are on NFL Sunday Ticket, the DirecTV-owned outlet for all NFL games. The cost is $5,000.
“E-Man,” as we fondly call him, is the owner of the Birdseye, one of New London’s central arteries and only the best place to watch the game. Like every game. Whatever sport, it’s on at The Eye. They’re even nice enough to stream GameDay high school games on one of their seven televisions.
Poor E-Man. The guy does a steak dinner fundraiser like every other day. As charitable as they come. His reward for owning a business that provides so much joy to its customers: five thousand mazumas for one season of football. It’s obscene. Know what’s worse? There is exactly nothing Anderson or anyone else can do about it, save sell a whole lot of Bud Lights.
Several of us masochists, otherwise known as loyalists of the New York Football Giants, spent Sunday forgoing the gorgeous weather to be inside at The Eye yelling at TVs and celebrating several birthday parties.
There were several reasons for this. First, we hoped the Giants would pull off another miracle, which in more basic terms, is actually win again. (Which they did, contributing to our disruptive hootin and hollerin.) Second, it’s uproariously fun there with several fan bases glued to different TVs. Someone is always swearing. Someone is always yelling. Someone is always cheering. And occasionally, bartender Rod Gaynor will deviously turn off a TV in mid-play from behind the bar, turning several otherwise normal people into snarling hooligans.
A primer on DirecTV Sunday Ticket: It charges businesses based on their number of televisions and capacity. Hence, the $5,000 for Anderson. It’s got to be significantly worse at bigger places like Lyme Tavern or Buffalo Wild Wings. To reiterate: obscene.
DirecTV’s exclusivity deal with the NFL expires after this year, thus making it open market for next season. Will the NFL grant one outlet exclusivity? Will it be spread among several? Will the price again top the Gross National Product of Guatemala? To be determined.
My guess, though, is they’ll try as hard as they can to make it more complicated and expensive to do something so basic as to watch a game.
Think about it: The Yankees have been on seven different channels/networks/services this season: YES, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Peacock, ESPN, Fox and FS1. That number may grow in the playoffs to TBS, TNT or the MLB Network. And to think we thought the rooftop antenna and snowy Ch. 11 from New York was a hardship in the old days.
It's very possible that Aaron Judge, with 59 homers, hits No. 61 Friday night when about, well, 61 people across the country will see it. The only place you can watch Yanks/Sox on Friday night will be on Apple TV, enduring announcers who talk about everything else except what’s transpiring on the field.
Imagine that: You are a Yankee fan all your life. All you want to do is watch something as banal as a baseball game during which some history may be made. And you must fork over a little more for Apple TV, on top of what you may fork over for Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix, Fubo, YouTube TV, Sling, Xfinity, Cox, Breezeline, Frontier, DirectTV, Dish and any others unintentionally omitted.
So as the weather gets colder and outside options diminish this fall, think about your poor local gin mill owner with Sunday Ticket. Go watch the game there and help the poor sap pay his/her bills.
Come over and say hello. I’ll be the guy at The Eye with the Giants shirt and cap, cursing my father for making me like Giants. He had 31 other possibilities.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro