The NFL has just announced a major deal with Google. It’s “Sunday Ticket” package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games will be available on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels.
This marks the second time in less than two years that the NFL has partnered with a streaming service to air its games. “Sunday Ticket” has been on DirecTV since 1994 and will be available on YouTube starting next season as an add-on package on YouTube TV and standalone on YouTube Primetime Channels.
Commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the move to streaming was a way to focus on increasing the digital distribution of games and to appeal to the next generation of NFL fans.
“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,” Goodell said in a statement. Besides Amazon, Apple and ESPN also expressed interest in the “Sunday Ticket” package. “
As the ways fans enjoy NFL football evolve in a changing media landscape, partnerships with innovators like YouTube will ensure that more games are available to more fans,” said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is also 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 had a presence on YouTube since 2015, when it launched its official NFL channel. That presence has grown to include channels for all 32 teams and 10 official league channels. NFL Network and NFL RedZone have been available to subscribers of YouTube TV since 2020.
“Through this expanded partnership with the NFL, viewers will now also be able to experience the game they love in compelling and innovative ways through YouTube TV or YouTube Primetime Channels. We’re excited to continue our work with the NFL to make YouTube a great place for sports lovers everywhere.” – YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki
YouTube TV surpassed 5 million accounts in June and became the biggest internet-based pay TV service in the U.S. since. That number includes users on free promotional trials. YouTube also launched Primetime Channels in November. This service allows users to subscribe and watch content from streaming services on the YouTube app.
Even with “Sunday Ticket” moving to YouTube, the price is not expected to substantially decrease. This is due to contracts with CBS and Fox, which carry the Sunday afternoon games. Viewers typically pay around $300-$400 per season for the package, which averages 2 million subscribers.
NFL said it would work with YouTube to determine additional ways to support distribution of “Sunday Ticket” in commercial establishments.
Earlier this year, Amazon reached an agreement with DirecTV. The goal was to make sure Thursday night games were available in bars and restaurants.
Overall, this is a major development for both the NFL and YouTube. It will be interesting to see how this partnership plays out in the coming years.
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