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NFL discussing new Sunday Ticket deal with DirectTV; no agreement yet

Will the NFL let DirectTV pick up the mic after the 2014 season? (Jeff Roberson/AP) Though DirecTV is "optimistic," it hasn't reached a deal to keep its NFL Sunday Ticket. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

The NFL and DirectTV have extended the timeline of negotiations that would keep the lucrative Sunday Ticket package with DirectTV, Retuers reports.

The satellite company last signed a deal with the league in 2009 to broadcast out-of-market games to its subscribers, for which the subscribers pay up to $300 per season and DirectTV has paid $1 billion per year. DirectTV has said approximately two million people receive the service. That contract expires after the 2014-2015 NFL season.

"We've had very constructive conversations with the NFL, but it's complex," DirectTV CEO Mike White said During the company's investor day Thursday. "I'm very optimistic we will get an exclusive deal done on NFL Sunday Ticket."

On Friday, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal heard from NFL Media Group VP/Communications Alex Riethmiller, who said, "We do not have an agreement. Any speculation or reports to the contrary are not accurate."

In 2011, the NFL renewed its network and cable television deals to go through the 2022 season and extended its agreement with ESPN to continue to broadcast Monday Night Football through the 2021 season. All of those deals will expand league coverage in significant ways, and the NFL has been looking for other ways to make its seemingly bulletproof brand even more valuable.

In August, the Associated Press reported the league was engaging in discussions with Google regarding the Sunday Ticket package. Earlier in the year, Patrick Pichette, the search and technology company's chief financial officer, said, "It serves the shareholder best to actually have that strategic ability to pounce" when this type of acquisition is possible. Robert Kyncl, Google's vice president and global head of business at YouTube, was reportedly a key man in those discussions.

One thing's for sure -- whether the league re-ups with DirectTV or not, the NFL will continue to be aggressive in finding new ways to expand its technological reach.

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