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YouTube Reaches Deal for N.F.L. Sunday Ticket


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YouTube and the National Football League announced on Thursday that they had reached a deal for the N.F.L.’s Sunday Ticket package of games, bringing a mainstay of traditional television to a major streaming service.

The deal will allow YouTube viewers to stream nearly all of the N.F.L. games on Sunday next season, except those that air on traditional television in their local markets. Games will continue to be available on other networks throughout the week, including Monday night games on ESPN and ABC and Thursday evening games on Amazon’s Prime Video service.

The games will be available as an add-on to YouTube TV, the company’s $64.99 streaming package, or available for purchase separately through its YouTube Primetime Channels, another product.

The new Sunday Ticket deal could be worth as much as $2.5 billion annually, including payments from YouTube and separate agreements to license the package to businesses including bars and restaurants, according to people familiar with the negotiations. That’s about $1 billion a year more than DirecTV, the previous rights holder. The deal includes payments based on the number of YouTube subscribers that Google is able to add, as well as other performance benchmarks, the people said.


YouTube struck a seven-year agreement for Sunday Ticket, one of the people said, a long-term deal to give Google time to build up its subscriber base. DirecTV also agreed to long-term, multiyear deals.

“For a number of years we have been focused on increased digital distribution of our games and this partnership is yet another example of us looking towards the future and building the next generation of N.F.L. fans,” Roger Goodell, the N.F.L. commissioner, said in a statement.

YouTube’s deal for Sunday Ticket is a watershed moment for the media industry, which has been tilting toward streaming for years. As some viewers abandoned cable for services like Netflix, N.F.L. football games have kept sports fans glued to traditional television. Those games draw reliable viewership, allowing networks like Fox, NBC and ESPN to build programming lineups and sell advertising around must-see TV.

But in recent years, streaming giants like Apple, Google and Amazon have entered the fray, bringing their deep pockets and huge platforms to bear on the negotiations. Apple now has rights to Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games, and Amazon last year agreed to pay $1 billion annually for the rights to N.F.L. Thursday night games. YouTube’s deal for Sunday Ticket cements the shift to streaming.

Still, a major chunk of N.F.L. games will be exclusive to traditional television for the next decade. Last year, the league struck decade-long deals with major U.S. TV networks, including Fox, ESPN, CBS and NBC. In recent years, the league has tried to generate extra income by selling streaming rights separately.


The Sunday Ticket package could prove to be a boon to YouTube, which has been keen to expand its subscriptions as its main business — advertising — has stalled. Football games could draw more sports fans to YouTube TV, which is already the most popular internet-based pay TV service. The company said in July that it had five million subscribers, surpassing Hulu + Live TV.

YouTube gets the bulk of its revenue from advertising on videos uploaded by users. Stubborn inflation and a slowing economy have prompted advertisers to pull back spending, causing YouTube’s ad sales to contract by almost 2 percent in the past quarter, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported in October.

The disappointing results have given more urgency to a yearslong plan for YouTube to expand in other ways. The company said in November that it had 80 million paying subscribers for its music and ad-free premium services, up from 50 million a year earlier.

The deal culminates years of industry speculation over who would land the coveted package of games that began in 2019 when John Stankey, then the chief operating officer of DirecTV’s former owner, AT&T, said the company was rethinking its deal for Sunday Ticket.

It became clearer that the package would go to a tech company in July, when Mr. Goodell, the N.F.L. commissioner, said in an interview that a streaming service would be “best for consumers.” Apple, Amazon and YouTube emerged as the likeliest candidates, and all three companies vied for the rights.

Recently, Apple — which was long considered the front-runner — decided to drop its pursuit. As the negotiations stretched on, Apple became skeptical that the Sunday Ticket package was worth what the N.F.L. was seeking and ended serious conversations about a potential deal, a person with knowledge of the deal said.

Apple instead homed its focus on completing a deal to sponsor the halftime show for the 2023 Super Bowl, which it believes will raise the profile of its Apple Music service.

Tripp Mickle contributed reporting.


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5 hours ago, jranieli said:

They should put grass in at Met Life. I think the ref are full time now. 

I believe most refs still have careers outside of the football season.

I just think if you want better refs these guys should live and breath football, they should be paid throughout the year but have to call college games, or attend meetings and such in the offseason on blown calls, how to spot calls, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/23/2022 at 4:37 PM, Virginia Giant said:

Been stealing games and watching on my tablet for a few years now. I might actually pay for this. 

The NFL/big businesses have fucked up my streaming for so long that I'm not sure I'm ever going to pay for it again.  One year I got Madden because NFL Sunday ticket came with it for free, but DirecTV didn't think that adding 20 million new customers required an upgrade to their servers, so none of the games actually worked until week 4.  Then I tried using a VPN to make it look like my laptop was in Mexico and paid for the "NFL Abroad" package, but only about a half of each game was watchable no matter where I set my location to. 

This year, I've done the NFL+ package and every month I have to go and dispute one of the charges because they always charge me twice. 

I think I'm done. 

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