DirecTV has enjoyed exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket dating back to 1994, but things are about to change. New reports suggest Google’s YouTube and YouTube TV are about to snatch the Sunday Ticket, and here’s why that’s a big deal.
Update, 12/22/22: That was fast. YouTube and YouTube TV are now the official home of the NFL Sunday Ticket for the 2023 season. For more details, analysis, and price expectations, read our updated coverage from the announcement.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the NFL and Google are close to inking a deal for the service and are currently in “advanced talks” and ironing out some final details. Amazon, who hosts Thursday Night Football, was a frontrunner at one point, and in November, we heard Google and Apple were fighting hard for the rights.
For those unaware, the NFL Sunday Ticket gives football fans access to every game on Sunday, regardless of the channel, region, or blackout restrictions. It allows a Packers fan like myself to watch every game from Las Vegas.
Recently, DirecTV has been paying around $1.5 billion annually for the package, and it looks like the NFL wants Google to pay over $2 billion per year for the rights. If Google snatches the Sunday Ticket, it would be a big score.
YouTube and its cable TV alternative, YouTube TV, are growing quickly, but a move like this could kick things into high gear. For example, YouTube overtook Netflix as the highest-viewed streaming service earlier this year, recently added primetime channels like Paramount+, SHOWTIME, Epix, and more, and even has the NBA League Pass.
The addition of Sunday Ticket would provide a massive boost to YouTube’s streaming lineup, increase revenue, and likely add more YouTube TV subscriptions. YouTube already has a ton of amazing content from creators, both big and small, and the option to rent/buy TV shows and movies.
If you combine all that with the NFL Sunday Ticket, many current and potential customers could turn to YouTube without going anywhere else for entertainment. It’s worth noting that if Google catches the NFL Sunday Ticket, it’ll be offered as a paid add-on package for YouTube and YouTube TV.
Imagine being able to fire up YouTube, watch some NFL highlights, then go to your favorite team’s YouTube channel and watch the game on Sunday. It sounds like a win-win to me, as long as Google offers the Sunday Ticket at an affordable monthly price.
While negotiations could stretch into 2023, we’re hoping to hear more details on the deal shortly.