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Dish Says It’s Interested in NFL Sunday Ticket

Dish Network Corp.’s head of product management said the satellite-TV company would be interested in bidding on the rights to broadcast the National Football League’s Sunday games if rival DirecTV fails to renew its deal.

“It’s the only exclusive still left for TV content,” Vivek Khemka, Dish’s senior vice president of product management, said today in an interview. “I’d be an idiot to say I didn’t want it.”

“NFL Sunday Ticket” has been offered only on DirecTV since 1994, and the two sides are negotiating exclusively to renew the $4 billion agreement, which expires at the end of 2014. The deal is so critical that AT&T Inc., in its agreement to acquire DirecTV, retained the right to back out of the deal if the contract with the NFL isn’t renewed.

In the event talks with DirecTV fail, the league could separate the rights to offer “Sunday Ticket” over the Web from the traditional TV contract, Khemka said. Englewood, Colorado-based Dish, which is starting a online-only video subscription, would be interested in the Web-only rights as well, he said.

“We are continuing discussions with DirecTV and look forward to the 20th anniversary season of ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ on DirecTV,” Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the league, said in an e-mail.

Darris Gringeri, a spokesman for El Segundo, California-based DirecTV, said the satellite-TV company is still in talks with the NFL.

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