Google, NFL strike exclusive deal for 'Sunday Ticket'

The NFL's "Sunday Ticket" package has indeed gone the way of streaming.

Responding to reports from earlier in the week, Google and the National Football League confirmed Thursday that YouTube TV and the YouTube Primetime Channels platform will be the exclusive home of the league's premium Sunday Ticket package, starting with the 2023 season.

In addition to removing the package from DirecTV, the NFL's long-time partner, the deal contributes to a shift that is seeing more live sporting events become available via major streaming services and distributors. Examples of others that have nabbed key distribution rights for popular sports include Amazon, Apple, NBCU's Peacock and Paramount+.

Of that group, Amazon is paying about $1 billion per year to distribute the NFL's Thursday night package. The NFL itself dug more deeply into the direct-to-consumer (DTC) domain with this year's launch of NFL+, a streaming subscription service focused on smartphones and tablets. The NFL and Google hooked up for the 2015 launch of the NFL channel on YouTube.

(Source: Google/YouTube)
(Source: Google/YouTube)

"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 NFL fans," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement about the new deal with Google.

Terms of the new multi-year, US-focused deal were not disclosed. The New York Times pegged the value at roughly $2.5 billion per year, up from the $1.5 billion that DirecTV reportedly has been paying.

Pricing of NFL Sunday Ticket via YouTube was not announced today, but Google said the package will be sold as an add-on package on YouTube TV, its multichannel pay-TV service, and on a standalone basis on YouTube Primetime Channels, a service that hawks dozens of premium streaming services, including Paramount+ and AMC+.

Google and the NFL said they will announce a wave of "updated" features and functionality that will be tied into the new streaming form of Sunday Ticket ahead of the 2023 NFL season.

NFL Sunday Ticket launched in 1994 and, prior to the coming 2023 season, has been distributed exclusively by DirecTV.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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