February 3, 2023

Fans will have to google it starting next season if they want access to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package.

The NFL announced a multi-year agreement on Thursday for Google to distribute its package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games in the United States on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels.

The NFL sought $2.5 billion per season for the package, which has been on DirecTV since 1994. The satellite provider has paid $1.5 billion a year for an eight-year contract that expires at the end of this season.

CNBC reported that the Sunday Ticket deal will cost about $2 billion a year for seven years.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said during an interview with CNBC in the summer that the next step for Sunday Ticket would be a streaming service because that would be the best option for fans.

Goodell reiterated that with Thursday’s announcement.

“We have been focused on greater digital distribution of our games for several years now and this partnership is another example of how we are looking to the future and building the next generation of NFL fans,” he said in a statement.

It is the second time in less than two years that the NFL has partnered with a streaming service to broadcast games. The league’s 11-year contract with Amazon Prime Video for Thursday night games began this season.

In addition to Amazon, Apple and ESPN also showed interest in NFL Sunday Ticket.

“As the way fans enjoy NFL football evolves in a changing media landscape, partnerships with innovators like YouTube will help make more games available to more fans,” said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who also serves as chairman. of the NFL’s Media Committee. “This partnership will grow our game for future generations and allow them to follow their favorite sport.”

The NFL has been on YouTube since 2015, when it launched its official NFL channel. That’s expanded to include channels for all 32 teams and 10 official league channels, including NFL Films, NFL Network, and Mundo NFL.

NFL Network and NFL RedZone have been available to YouTube TV subscribers since 2020.

“Through this expanded partnership with the NFL, viewers can now also experience the game they love in immersive and innovative ways through YouTube TV or YouTube Primetime Channels,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a statement. “We’re excited to continue our work with the NFL to make YouTube a great place for sports fans around the world.”

Beginning next season, NFL Sunday Ticket will be available as an add-on package on YouTube TV and as a standalone a la carte on YouTube Primetime channels.

Google said in June that YouTube TV, which launched in 2017, had more than 5 million accounts and was the largest internet-based pay TV service in the US. That number includes users with free promotional trials.

Launched in November, YouTube Primetime Channels is a service that allows users to subscribe to and watch content from streaming services within the YouTube app.

Even with Sunday Ticket moving to YouTube, the price isn’t expected to drop substantially due to contracts with CBS and Fox, which carry the Sunday afternoon games.

Viewers pay about $300-$400 per season for the package, which has an average of 2 million subscribers.

The league also said it would work with YouTube to find additional ways to support Sunday Ticket distribution in commercial settings.

Earlier this year, Amazon reached an agreement with DirecTV to ensure that games are available in bars and restaurants on Thursday nights.

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