The NFL announced a multi-year agreement Thursday for Google to distribute the league’s “Sunday Ticket” package for out-of-market Sunday afternoon games on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime channels.
The seven-year deal is worth just over $2 billion per season. The package has been on DirecTV since 1994. The satellite provider has been paying $1.5 billion annually on an eight-year contract that expires at the end of this season.
The NFL was seeking $2.5 billion per season for the package. It can still reach that total because the university holds the commercial rights to the bars and restaurants and is in the process of selling those rights.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said during an interview with CNBC over the summer that the next step for “Sunday Ticket” would be a streaming service because that would be the best option for fans.
Goodell repeated that with Thursday’s announcement.
“We’ve focused for a number of years on increasing digital distribution of our games and this partnership is another example of us looking to the future and building the next generation of NFL fans,” Goodell said in a statement.
This is the second time in less than two years that the NFL has partnered with an over-the-air game streaming service. The league’s 11-year contract with Amazon Prime Video for Thursday night games began this season.
Besides Amazon, Apple and ESPN have 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 are available,” said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is also the NFL’s media committee chair. Games for more fans. “This partnership will grow our game for future generations and allow them to continue their favorite sport.”
The NFL has been present on YouTube since 2015, when it launched its official NFL channel. And that has increased to include channels for all 32 teams and 10 official league channels, including NFL Films, NFL Network, and Mundo NFL.
The NFL Network and NFL RedZone have been available to YouTube TV subscribers since 2020.
“Through this expanded partnership with the NFL, viewers will now be able to experience the game they love in compelling and innovative ways through YouTube TV or YouTube Primetime Channels,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a statement. “We’re excited to continue our work with the NFL to make YouTube a great place for sports fans everywhere.”
Starting next season, the “Sunday Ticket” will be available as an add-on package on YouTube TV and a standalone a la carte on YouTube Primetime channels.
Google said in June that YouTube TV, which launched in 2017, has surpassed 5 million accounts and was the largest online pay-TV service in the US, and that number includes users in promotional free trials.
YouTube Primetime channels, launched in November, is a service that allows users to subscribe to and watch content from streaming services on the YouTube app.
Even with “Sunday Ticket” moving to YouTube, the price isn’t expected to drop significantly due to contracts with CBS and Fox, which air Sunday afternoon games.
Viewers pay about $300-400 a season for the package, which has an average of 2 million subscribers.