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The NFL is close to a deal to take its coveted Sunday Ticket out of its bundle of market games on Google’s YouTube, a source close to the NFL confirmed. The Athletic. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report this news. Here’s what you need to know.

  • The deal will end DirecTV’s nearly 30-year run with the package and highlights the move of sports to streaming.
  • The NFL was looking for $2.0 billion a year.
  • Apple was the frontrunner for a while, but walked away from the talks weeks ago.


The deal, which has yet to be voted on by owners, ends the long reign of DirecTV, which launched the package in 1994, giving fans who lived outside their favorite team’s market the ability to watch games. The NFL and Google declined to comment.

The deal would mark another major shift in media as major sports properties move from traditional media to streaming. Ironically, in the early 1990s, DirecTV was seen as a pioneer in its own satellite service. Now it is succumbing to the hot environment of sports.

Google’s YouTube and YouTube TV can use Sunday Ticket to boost their subscription business. It could not be determined how much Google, a unit of Alphabet, is paying. DirecTV paid an average of $1.5 billion a year, and the NFL was looking for at least $1.0 billion more.

But whether the league got that much is unclear. The cost of a Sunday ticket has come down for many as many national windows pick up games from Thursday Night Football (now on Amazon Prime) to Christmas games and the third Thanksgiving game.

It is also noteworthy that the transaction includes a project for the separate sale of bars and restaurants. Amazon is sublicensing Thursday Night Football to DirecTV to bars and restaurants, which typically struggle to broadcast the games. So it’s possible that DirecTV could use this avenue to undercut Sunday tickets.

Apple has long been the NFL’s leading and coveted candidate for some time, but couldn’t agree on contract language and recently pulled out of negotiations.

Details remain

Many details need to be filled. how much would youtube charge for sunday ticket, would it sell packages for just one team, individual games? You need a subscription to YouTube TV or YouTube Premium, the $11.99 per month ad-free platform for the video site.

The price will be fascinating, as it’s no secret that DirecTV took a big financial loss on the service, with some estimates of two million subscribers, many of whom were heavily discounted. DirecTV charged a base price of $300 to $400 per season, not nearly enough to pay the NFL an average of $1.5 billion a year. DirecTV viewed the package as a loss leader as it drove customers in the door, and YouTube is likely to watch Sunday tickets.

Obviously, this move would fit in with the NFL’s goal of making Sunday Ticket more affordable; Signing up for YouTube Premium and then Sunday Ticket would have been a lot easier than getting satellite (DirecTV offered a streaming option in areas where satellite wasn’t possible).

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(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)



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