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YouTube Dropped the Ball With NFL Sunday Ticket Options

I'm hopeful we'll have more choices next year.

YouTube TV app icon on an Apple TV
Justin Duino / Review Geek

YouTube recently confirmed its pricing for the NFL Sunday Ticket starting with the 2023-24 season and beyond, available on its platform instead of DirecTV for the first time since 1994. Sure, it’s only $249 for some users, but I think YouTube dropped the ball (or fumbled) its Sunday Ticket options.

While we’re still in the early stages of YouTube having control over the ticket, YouTube’s initial announcement left much to be desired. For starters, long-time DirecTV users have more questions than answers. Many expected a modern tech company like Google to take things to the next level—like single-team streaming options, better bundles, or different pricing. For now, we have none of that.

YouTube NFL Sunday Ticket Pricing

NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV.
YouTube TV

For those unaware, the NFL Sunday Ticket is available on YouTube TV, a live TV streaming service, or directly on YouTube under its new “Primetime channels” tab.

The most affordable plan is $349, but if you don’t pay for a subscription to YouTube TV, the Sunday ticket will cost $449 or $489, depending on the package. Sure, there’s an early bird discount that ends on June 6th, so everyone signing up around preseason will be paying an arm and a leg. Here’s the current pricing structure.

  • NFL Sunday Ticket with YouTube TV: $349 ($249 presale pricing)
  • Sunday Ticket + NFL RedZone with YouTube TV: $389 ($289 presale)
  • Sunday Ticket via YouTube Primetime Channels: $449 ($349 presale)
  • Sunday Ticket + NFL RedZone via YouTube Primetime Channels: $489 ($389 presale)

As you can see, the NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube isn’t much different than the price on DirecTV. In fact, for many, it’ll be more expensive. That’s especially true if you also want the coveted NFL Redzone channel. Paying nearly $500 to watch football is pretty wild.

These options also confuse those who’ve never heard of “YouTube TV.” With DirecTV out of the picture, anyone with a Google account can sign up for the NFL Sunday Ticket and watch it on YouTube. Confusing name aside, YouTube TV isn’t just a place full of videos like YouTube. Instead, it’s a live TV streaming platform similar to Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, etc., only it’s live TV over the internet instead of a cable box or satellite dish. It costs $72.99 per month.

You don’t have to have cable to get the NFL Sunday Ticket anymore, but if you do happen to subscribe to YouTube TV, the NFL Ticket price is discounted.

Another big question we see online is, “Can I pay monthly for the NFL Sunday Ticket?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. For now, YouTube does not have the option for viewers to split the price into monthly payments. It’s due upfront.

No Single-Team Packages (At Least Not Yet)

NFL Sunday ticket heading to YouTube

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of YouTube getting the NFL Sunday ticket was the hope that things would change. Being tied to DirecTV all these years wasn’t doing the NFL or fans any favors.

A prime example is single-team streaming packages, which we heard rumors about earlier this year. Instead of paying $389 for the NFL Ticket and being able to watch any out-of-market game, I want to watch my favorite team.

As a Green Bay Packers fan living in Las Vegas, trying to watch the cheeseheads play each week is challenging. Fans and critics everywhere were hoping that YouTube would offer single-team NFL Sunday Ticket options. I’d gladly pay $150 for a single-team package.

YouTube’s official comment is, “We aren’t currently offering single team/individual game purchasing options.”

Multi-Screen Streaming Limit

Football highlights from the NFL YouTube channel playing on an iPad
Hannah Stryker / Review Geek

We have more bad news if you’re wondering how many screens you can watch the NFL Sunday ticket on simultaneously. YouTube will only allow two streams at a time. For example, you could have RedZone on in the office and a game in the living room, but that’s all.

Or, you can stream the YouTube NFL Sunday ticket on your phone or tablet while it’s also playing on a home TV, which counts as two. Thankfully, YouTube is working on a multi-view feature allowing you to watch up to four games on one screen. However, that still doesn’t help with the device limit.

With DirecTV, subscribers could view the NFL Sunday ticket on several receivers throughout the house. Now, you’ll be limited to two. It’s worth mentioning that YouTube TV family groups will all have access, but we’re still unsure how that’ll work with the two-screen limit.

NFL Sunday Ticket Device Playback Support

a broken TV falling off the wall, showing the youtube tv logo

Another concern is device and playback support. If you’re wondering, “What devices is NFL Sunday Ticket playback supported on?” we have a few answers.

With DirecTV, you could hook a box up to any TV, old or new, and enjoy as many NFL games as possible. With the switch to streaming services like YouTube TV and YouTube, device compatibility will be an issue for some.

According to the company, NFL Sunday Ticket playback will be supported on Smart TVs made in 2016 and later. So, if you’re still using an ancient TV, you’ll be out of luck. It does sound like select older devices will be supported, but we don’t yet have a complete list. However, streaming boxes and sticks can easily give an older TV new features, so that’s one option.

TV aside, you can watch the NFL Sunday ticket through YouTube and YouTube TV on the web or any mobile device that supports the YouTube TV app. Most newer streaming devices will be fully supported.

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And a Few Other Problems

Justin Duino / Review Geek

Fans are also wondering about being able to pause or rewind, DVR options, student discounts, latency issues, and more. Again, there are a lot of unanswered questions right now, but as we inch closer to kickoff, expect to learn more.

YouTube already confirmed that pause/FF/RW options are available, so you’ll never miss any action. DVR is available on YouTube TV only, where subscribers get unlimited DVR cloud storage.

One huge issue that has a lot of fans talking on Twitter is latency. When you watch the NFL on cable or DirecTV, it’s almost instant. However, streaming services like YouTube TV have some latency issues, also known as lag, and the stream runs behind.

For example, during the Super Bowl, YouTube TV was nearly a minute behind cable streams. When a team would score, my phone would alert me almost an entire minute before I saw it on my TV. The same thing happens when watching the NBA and NHL on YouTube TV. That’s a poor experience, but we’re hopeful Google can find a way to improve latency.

Another reason YouTube dropped the ball, at least so far, is with student pricing. For years DirecTV has offered an excellent discount for college kids, especially in dorms, but right now, YouTube doesn’t have any such discount and no info to share on if it’ll come later.

A YouTube community manager recently answered a round of FAQs on Reddit, which may have additional answers to any lingering questions about the Sunday Ticket this season.

In closing, I’m still extremely hopeful that over the summer or during preseason, the NFL and YouTube can work together to iron out some of these issues, add additional features, or return student discounts. More importantly, this is the first season of a multi-year deal, and things will likely change and evolve. We may not have single-team streaming options in 2023-24, but there’s a good chance that’ll eventually be an option in future seasons.

Google paid an absolutely absurd amount of money to get the NFL Sunday Ticket contract, so none of this is a surprise. It makes sense that the company is treading lightly and finding the best way to keep fans happy without bleeding money at the same time.

Plus, the massive silver lining is that everyone can enjoy the NFL Sunday Ticket without dealing with DirecTV. It’s available to anyone willing to pay up.

NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube

Sign up for the NFL Sunday Ticket and watch every game on YouTube or YouTube TV.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »