Report: YouTube Close to Landing NFL Sunday Ticket For YouTube TV and Primetime Channels; Announcement Could Come as Early as Wednesday
Fans flock to sports not only for the elite athleticism on display, but also for the drama that is inherently a part of everything that happens on and off the field. One of the most compelling stories in sports throughout 2022 has been which streaming service would land the NFL Sunday Ticket rights after the league’s contract with DIRECTV expires at the end of the current season.
Now, less than a week after Apple reportedly walked away from the negotiating table, the Wall Street Journal's Joe Flint is reporting that Google is on the precipice of landing the much sought-after out-of-market package for YouTube. The deal reportedly would include its live TV streaming service YouTube TV and its standalone subscription marketplace YouTube Primetime Channels.
Flint’s reporting indicates that the two sides are close enough to an agreement that the league’s owners could approve the deal as early as Wednesday. After Apple pulled itself out of the running, the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcast partner Prime Video was considered the next most likely landing spot for the Sunday Ticket. However, according to the New York Post's John Ourand, Amazon’s bid was much lower than the NFL was looking to land for the package. This allowed Google’s parent company Alphabet to come in with the best offer.
YouTube TV first got into the Sunday Ticket mix in July, months after most of the other contenders had already been at the negotiating table. Then in November, just as Apple’s spot as the odds-on leader to land the package, reports began circulating that Google was becoming even more of a legitimate candidate.
This development would be a major step up in prominence for the service. Though YouTube TV has done deals with Major League Baseball in the past and has a growing subscription business, adding the package would be a new challenge and opportunity for the streamer.
If Google’s live TV streaming service does end up landing the NFL package, it will be interesting to see how it incorporates Sunday Ticket into its platform. As a vMVPD (virtual, multichannel video programming distributor), YouTube TV would provide a viewing experience most similar to what customers are familiar with from the package’s DIRECTV days. However, one of the major questions surrounding this potential Sunday Ticket deal is if Google would require subscribers to also sign up for YouTube TV — as the satellite provider did before — or if the service would allow non-linear subscribers to sign up for Sunday Ticket à la carte.
Perhaps not completely coincidentally, in late September, the live streamer began allowing consumers to subscribe to premium streaming services through its platform without having to sign up for a base plan. This very well might have been a move to prove to the NFL that it was willing to open its doors to customers without forcing them to go all in as DIRECTV did.
As Ourand notes, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell initially said that he expected an announcement about the NFL Sunday Ticket’s new home by the end of the fall. Winter does not officially begin until late afternoon on Wednesday.
YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service with more than 60 channels for $72.99/month. This plan includes local channels, 32 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs) in select markets.
With the recent addition of Viacom channels (BET, MTV, Comedy Central, etc.) to the service, they are only without Hallmark and A+E Networks (Lifetime, History, A&E).
They recently added NFL Network and new Sports Plus add-on which include channels like NFL RedZone for $11 a month.
YouTube TV offers select 4K content, including some live sports and on-demand shows, as part of their 4K Plus add-on. The 4K Plus add-on is $9.99 a month and also includes offline downloads and unlimited streams on your home network.
If you want a cheaper service with many of the entertainment channels on YouTube TV, you can subscribe to Philo which includes A+E, Discovery, Viacom, Hallmark, and other channels for just $20 a month after a 7-Day Free Trial.
NFL Sunday Ticket
NFL Sunday Ticket is a subscription video streaming service that allows football fans to watch every live out-of-market NFL game on Sunday afternoons. Beginning with the 2023 football season, the service will be available via YouTube and YouTube TV.
Unlike NFL RedZone, which bounces from game to game, Sunday Ticket is superior for fans who want to see every play of their favorite teams, even if they don’t live where the games are locally televised.
Sunday Ticket offers three plans: the Student Plan for $99.96 / an, the To Go Plan for $293.96 / an, and the Max Plan for $395.99 / an.