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November 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

DirecTV’s controversial come-on — giving new customers its pricey NFL Sunday Ticket package free for one year in return for signing a two-year contract — has paid off in spades for the satellite distributor. Although it pays the NFL $1 billion a year for the package, offering it free to new subscribers who would ordinarily have to fork over more than $300 to cable rivals, boosted DirecTV’s subscriber base exponentially. While analysts had estimated that the free NFL package would boost DirecTV’s subscriber list by about 158,000, it actually attracted 327,000 — more than twice the estimated number. “These are unbelievable numbers,” Vijay Jayant, an analyst at International Strategy & Investment Group in New York, told Bloomberg News. “The subscriber additions are fantastic. The message is the NFL Sunday Ticket promotion really resonated with consumers.” The growth appears to have come at the expense of cable companies and rival satellite DISH, who, according to Bloomberg News, together lost 375,000 subscribers during the quarter. In an interview with today’s (Friday) New York Post, Seth Haberman, CEO of Visible World, a company that helps advertisers target viewers, commented, “It’s spectacular, but given what they paid for the NFL, it has to be spectacular.”