January 30, 2023

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YouTube lands NFL Sunday Ticket in major shake-up of sports streaming

2 min read

YouTube will be the new home of NFL Sunday Ticket, Google and the NFL announced, ending the months-long question of where the major broadcasting package would end up. NFL Sunday Ticket has been available in the US exclusively via DirecTV since 1994, but the satellite provider won’t have it starting with the 2023 NFL season.

Now, it will be available either as an add-on for YouTube TV subscribers or à la carte via YouTube Primetime Channels, which launched last month to “bring shows and movies from more than 30 services directly into the YouTube interface.”

No one has confirmed how much it will cost for viewers, but the Sunday Ticket package for this season costs $293.94 to purchase from DirecTV or nearly $400 if purchasing the Max package with extra content.

NFL Sunday Ticket coming to YouTube / YouTube TV

NFL Sunday Ticket is coming to YouTube.Image: YouTube / NFL

The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to sources, YouTube is paying $2 billion per season in a seven-year agreement for the residential streaming rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a statement that “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.”

For months, Apple had been considered the front-runner for the package, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saying earlier this year that the league expected to pick NFL Sunday Ticket’s new home by the fall. But Apple and the NFL’s negotiations reportedly dragged on until Apple eventually backed out. And now, one of Apple’s chief rivals will be getting NFL Sunday Ticket instead.

In scoring the broadcasting package, YouTube could become one of the most dominant players in sports streaming. YouTube TV already offers access to a lot of sports programming, and by adding NFL Sunday Ticket, which lets subscribers watch out-of-market Sunday games, Google is further positioning itself as the one-stop shop for live streaming. It also gives Google a new tool to compete with Amazon, which just kicked off its 11-year deal to exclusively broadcast Thursday Night Football, and Apple, which is about to launch a streaming service with Major League Soccer.

The NFL itself has dipped its toes further into streaming with its own NFL Plus service, which launched this year. But you can only use the service on a mobile phone or tablet and it has a limited selection of games, meaning it might not be enough for some NFL superfans.