AJ Dillon #28 of the Green Bay Packers avoids a tackle by Jalen Ramsey #5 of the Los Angeles Rams during the first half at Lambeau Field on December 19, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Patrick McDermott | Getty Images
The National Football League announced Thursday that its Sunday Ticket subscription package would go to Google’s YouTube TV starting next season, marking the league’s second media rights deal with a streaming service.
YouTube TV will pay roughly $2 billion a year for the rights to the Sunday Ticket package, according to people familiar with the matter.
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DirecTV has held Sunday Ticket rights since 1994, paying $1.5 billion a year for them since the last renewal in 2014. It did not make a bid to keep its contract. Still, the satellite TV provider had been open to still offering the games to commercial establishments such as bars and restaurants, similar to its deal with Amazon for “Thursday Night Football,” according to people familiar with the matter.
A US-only product, Sunday Ticket is the only way fans can watch Sunday afternoon NFL games live outside their home markets on CBS and Fox.
It’s the NFL’s latest media rights renewal package. Last year, supremecbs of, fox i ComcastNBC agreed to pay more than $2 billion annually for 11-year packages, while Disney pays about $2.7 billion annually for Monday Night Football, CNBC previously reported.
Amazon secured the rights to “Thursday Night Football,” becoming the first streaming-only platform to broadcast NFL games, paying about $1 billion annually.
The league had been in negotiations for some time to find a new owner for Sunday Ticket. appleAmazon i from Disney ESPN was among interested bidders for the package at one point or another, CNBC previously reported.
YouTube TV is an Internet bundle of broadcast and cable networks that mirrors a traditional linear pay TV operator. Its base plan costs $64.99 per month. In July, Google announced that YouTube TV surpassed 5 million customers, including trial subscriptions.
In recent months, YouTube TV has emerged as a strong contender for the rights, as it could offer much of what the league hoped to achieve with a new Sunday Ticket partner: a technology platform with a large balance sheet and global reach, and the ability to support bundled legacy TV.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league was pushing for Sunday Ticket to end up on a streaming service. “I think this is the best thing for consumers at this stage,” Goodell previously told CNBC.
For a while, it looked like Apple was close to getting the rights. The company has been expanding its sports footprint for its streaming service Apple TV +. It recently signed a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer that begins in 2023, and last year began airing Friday night Major League Baseball games.
However, discussions broke down due to existing restrictions around Sunday Ticket rights, and Apple had wanted more flexibility in how to distribute the package, CNBC previously reported.
Amazon had also been considered another top contender, given that it already broadcasts “Thursday Night Football” games and is a streaming-only platform.
While these contests are primarily broadcast on Prime, DirecTV distributes the games commercially, to bars, restaurants, hotels and retailers. The two reached a multi-year deal before the season started. DirecTV is interested in offering Sunday Ticket games in a similar capacity, people familiar with the matter said.