Google Reportedly Offered NFL Sunday Ticket; Could out-of-market games be streaming on YouTube in 2023? – The Broadcast
Live sports rights have been a cornerstone of broadcast portfolios for generations, and there’s no sport more valuable in the United States than the NFL. With deals with CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC and ESPN, Prime Video and DIRECTV, the nation’s most popular league has essentially awarded its rights to every outlet imaginable with a major package yet to find a new home when its Current deal with DIRECTV expires after upcoming season: NFL Sunday Ticket.
While most onlookers felt like they had a pretty firm grip on the negotiations just last week, according to a New York Times report over the weekend there was a late addition to the Sunday Ticket auction: Google. The official journal said that [YouTube][youtube-live-tv] entered the fray alongside the long-talked-about Apple and Amazon.
For months, Apple was seen as the leader, despite the fact that the advertised price had risen from the $1.5 billion a year that DIRECTV currently pays to $2.5 billion in the future. The sizable sum would have put Disney out of action, meaning the out-of-market package will not be available on ESPN+, despite NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicating earlier this month that he think Sunday Ticket will be streaming in fall 2023. .
With three of the world‘s largest and most profitable tech companies apparently bidding on games, this could be an opportunity for the NFL to demand even more for games, especially if the Sunday Ticket comes with a stake. in NFL Media, the league arm that oversees NFL RedZone, NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL.com and the upcoming launch of NFL+.
Prime Video is already becoming the exclusive home of ‘Thursday Night Football’ this season, so the addition of the Sunday Ticket – and potentially a major part of NFL Media – would make it the league’s primary streaming home. However, if the past is any prologue as far as the league is concerned, the NFL could very well be looking to add another deep pocket to its incredible stable of media partners.
Apple last month signed a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer to broadcast every match featuring an MLS team primarily on a new standalone streaming service for the next decade, with Apple TV+ subscribers having access to a small selection of games as part of their plans and some matches streamed for free on the Apple TV app. Some have speculated that this could be the model for how Apple might approach the Sunday Ticket and NFL Media rights if they land them, especially as the streamer actively improves its sports watch features after not having broadcast its first game live only in April with the start of the Major League Baseball season.
In favor of Google, earlier this month YouTube TV announced that it had essentially passed the 5 million subscriber threshold, which would likely make it the largest live TV streaming service in the United States. The NYT report did not indicate whether Sunday Ticket would be available exclusively on YouTube TV. subscribers should Google win the auction – in a similar model to how DIRECTV has handled the package since its launch in 1995 – or if anyone, whether or not they subscribe to the streamer, will have the opportunity to buy the package.
Whichever streaming service lands the rights to Sunday Ticket, it will always be a fairly expensive add-on, as the NFL’s contracts with CBS and FOX – which carry the games that make up Sunday Ticket’s offerings – require that it should be a premium subscription package so as not to cannibalize the games broadcast on local affiliates too much.
For months, the momentum seemed to be shifting in Apple’s favor when it came to the NFL Sunday Ticket, and it could very well still be the case, but with Google brought into the proceedings, the battle over rights of the package between now and when the league thinks it will finalize a deal this fall could be just as exciting as the games themselves and could come down to the final whistle.