YouTube has secured a massive deal with NFL Sunday Ticket that will erase a 28-year partnership between the National Football League and DirecTV and cost Google an average of $2 billion per year for the privilege.
The NFL announced the multi-year agreement with Google on Wednesday, officially granting YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels the right to distribute Sunday Ticket, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Amazon, Apple, Disney and ESPN were also believed to be contenders for NFL Sunday Ticket, per AP.
“We’re excited to bring NFL Sunday Ticket to YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels and usher in a new era of how fans across the United States watch and follow the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press release.
“Sunday Ticket” has been airing on DirecTV since 1994, with the satellite provider paying $1.5 billion per year on an eight-year contract that is set to expire at the end of this season. Viewers pay nearly $300 a season for the package, which averages nearly 2 million subscribers. As of August, DirecTV boasted just under 14 million subscribers.
NFL partnering with streamers
An NFL/YouTube partnership wouldn’t be the first between the league and a streaming service: the NFL inked an 11-year contract with Amazon Prime Video for Thursday night games which began this season.
Talks with Google accelerated after Apple and Amazon dropped out; according to Pro Football Talk, Amazon never got close to the amount Google and YouTube would pay for the service. The Sunday Ticket package will be available on YouTubeTV and YouTube Premium channels when the deal is done, per PFT. The price will reportedly be similar to the current DirecTV charge.
Alex Sherman of CNBC.com reported earlier this year that the NFL’s deals with CBS and Fox prevent the NFL from offering Sunday Ticket at a significantly lower price, “maximizing viewership of the games offered by CBS and Fox in a given market, while keeping people from purchasing the ability to watch all games.”
Google claimed earlier this year that YouTube TV, which was launched in 2017, had surpassed 5 million accounts and was the biggest internet-based pay TV service in the United States.