NFL Sunday Ticket Is Coming to YouTube TV and Primetime

Over the holidays, the National Football League announced a multi-year deal with Google that will provide YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels with exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which includes all out-of-market Sunday games broadcast via CBS and FOX. Beginning with the 2023 football season, NFL Sunday Ticket will be available for U.S. consumers “on two of YouTube’s growing subscription businesses as an add-on package on YouTube TV and standalone a-la-carte on YouTube Primetime Channels,” according to Google. The agreement is valued at about $2 billion annually over seven years.

“This strategic partnership will provide fans greater access to NFL Sunday Ticket while tapping into the best of YouTube’s technology and product innovation,” explains the YouTube Blog announcement. Football fans will have access to games through the YouTube TV bundle or via the YouTube app as part of YouTube’s Primetime Channels feature. The company beat out Big Tech giants such as Amazon and Apple in a lengthy, heated bidding war.

“The deal marks a major shift in sports rights from TV networks and pay TV operations to streaming,” reports TV Tech. The NFL Sunday Ticket package “had long been monopolized by satellite provider DirecTV,” which has been paying $1.5 billion annually since 2014, reportedly losing about $500 million each year.

DirecTV has held exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket since 1994. The current offering requires that fans subscribe to the service, with a base option available for $79.99 per month — and a $149.99 package that includes extra features.

While DirecTV did not join the recent bidding war, “it has been open to offering the games for commercial establishments, such as bars and restaurants, similar to its agreement with Amazon for ‘Thursday Night Football,’” notes CNBC. “The deal with YouTube TV does not include commercial rights, which could boost the value of the package, and the NFL is still sorting that out.”

“For a number of years we have been focused on increased digital distribution of our games and this partnership is yet another example of us looking towards the future and building the next generation of NFL fans,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“It’s a big win for YouTube and Google, which have been slowly but steadily taking over the TV streaming market,” suggests The Verge. “And it makes sense for the NFL, which got a deal that looks a lot like the cable and satellite deals it’s used to, dressed up in an app that actually works along with some fancy streaming tricks like live stats and the ability to say ‘creators’ and ‘Gen Z’ while gesturing at YouTube.”

“YouTube has long been a home for football fans, whether they’re streaming live games, keeping up with their home team, or watching the best plays in highlights,” noted YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. “We’re excited to continue our work with the NFL to make YouTube a great place for sports lovers everywhere.”

According to YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan in an interview with The Verge, there are three points that make this deal “unique in terms of the experience [YouTube] can deliver to sports fans”:

  • “…living room screens are our largest and fastest-growing screens — whether it’s the YouTube main app, whether it’s YouTube TV. We’ve invested a lot there through second-screen type experiences, interactivity, hiding spoilers, etc. We’re working on multiscreen as well for sports fans.”
  • “…we have a subscription business, and it is a big part of our future. [Subscription video on demand] and [advertising-based video on demand] combined are the twin engines of our future growth.”
  • “… we’re going to have creators have exclusive access to games, everything from the first game all the way through the Super Bowl, so that they can produce content on the NFL channel, but they can also produce their own content for YouTube shorts.”

CNBC points out that the YouTube TV agreement “does not include a stake in NFL Media, which includes the linear cable channels NFL Network and RedZone, as well as”

Move to YouTube Could Boost Number of NFL Sunday Ticket Subscribers, Broadcasting & Cable, 12/23/22
YouTube TV Split-Screen Viewing Is Set to Arrive in Time for NFL Sunday Ticket, 9to5Google, 1/1/23
NFL Sunday Ticket Price on YouTube TV Estimated to Be Around $300 for Consumer, Bleacher Report, 12/26/22

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