Image Source: Barret Sports Media
It’s official: the NFL’s Sunday Ticket is moving to YouTube.
Google and the NFL announced a deal Thursday that will make YouTube the only place to watch Sunday Ticket out-of-market games starting with the 2023 season.
After 28 years, DirecTV will no longer be in charge of Sunday Ticket. Sunday Ticket is for big football fans and people who bet on football. It lets you watch every NFL game on CBS and Fox on Sundays during the regular season (subject to local-market blackouts).
Under the terms of the seven-year deal, NFL Sunday Ticket will be available as an add-on package on YouTube TV and as a stand-alone, à-la-carte service on YouTube’s recently launched Primetime Channels, which don’t require a YouTube TV subscription. Both services will be available for the 2018-2019 football season. YouTube didn’t say how much Sunday Ticket would cost. DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket plans began at $293.94 for the 2022 season.
The deal’s terms were kept private. The Wall Street Journal said that YouTube would pay an average of $2 billion per year for Sunday Ticket, and there could be more fees based on how well it did. The New York Times estimated the deal would be worth $2.5 billion annually.
Either way, that’s more than the $1.5 billion a year that DirecTV is said to have paid for the rights to show Sunday Ticket. Industry estimates say that between 1.5 million and 2 million people have signed up for the package from the satellite TV provider.
The NFL and YouTube said they would work together to find more ways to help get NFL Sunday Ticket into places like bars and restaurants. According to a report in the Journal, that could mean an extra $200 million from Google.
With Sunday Ticket, YouTube TV could get more customers, but they won’t have to pay the $64.99/month fee to get it. Google said that the internet pay-TV service had more than 5 million users this summer, including those trying it out for free.
Before YouTube TV won the contract, Apple, Amazon, and ESPN were also said to have been in talks with the NFL.
Who had exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket before now?
Sunday Ticket was the only NFL media right that had yet to be locked up for the next ten years. Last year, the NFL signed big deals with Disney, Fox, Paramount Global, NBCUniversal, and Amazon that will keep most of its games with traditional media companies until 2033. As a result, “Thursday Night Football” will only be shown on Amazon’s Prime Video service.
Since the NFL launched its official NFL channel on YouTube in 2015, Google has been working with the league. In 2017, YouTube TV made its debut. Before the 2020 NFL season, YouTube TV signed a carriage agreement to add NFL Network to its base channel lineup and offer NFL RedZone as part of its $10.99/month Sports Plus add-on.
As part of their new deal for Sunday Ticket, YouTube and the NFL will give certain YouTube creators “exclusive access to official content and attendance opportunities” at “key NFL tentpole events.”
Back Together will also get its main sponsorship from YouTube. Saturday is the official start of training camp for the NFL. All 32 teams will hold practices and host fan events. This is part of NFL Kickoff Weekend, which runs from Thursday night, when the season starts, through the games over the weekend and into Monday night.
The move from DirecTV to YouTube TV would show how the TV industry is shifting from traditional TV to streaming services. AT&T sold DirecTV to TPG Capital in August 2021.
Since then, DirecTV and the rest of the pay-TV industry have been losing subscribers, so the satellite and streaming provider decided not to renew the deal. About 1.5 million to 2 million people get Sunday tickets from DirecTV. DirecTV’s prices for Sunday tickets began at $293.94 for the 2022 season.
Sunday Ticket could get many new people to sign up for YouTube TV. Google said that YouTube TV had more than 5 million customers this summer, including those trying it out for free. This makes it the largest internet TV service in the U.S.
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Since it started on DirecTV in 1994, Sunday Ticket has been the only legal way to watch all of the NFL’s Sunday daytime games during the regular season.
Sunday Ticket is the only piece of the NFL’s media rights that has yet to be locked down for the next ten years. Last year, the NFL made huge deals with Disney, Fox, Paramount Global, NBCUniversal, and Amazon. These deals will keep most NFL games with traditional media companies until 2033.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.