YouTube makes a big play for NFL Sunday Ticket
The Future. YouTube is set to win the rights fight for NFL Sunday Ticket, vaulting the streamer into the sports-exhibition arena. It could give a big boost to YouTube’s under-the-radar paid-subscription offerings — a potential key move as YouTube’s ad revenue (and ad revenue in general) slides.
YouTube wants to get in the sports-rights game in a big way, per WSJ.
- YouTube is reportedly close to beating out suitors like ESPN, Amazon, and Apple to score the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket — the subscription pass that shows nearly every Sunday game played by the league.
- The games would stream as an exclusive add-on to the $64.99-per-month YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels (where it will also offer the NBA League Pass).
- The deal is pegged to be at $2.5 billion per year, with the NFL receiving additional payments for hitting certain performance targets, such as bringing in a certain amount of new subscribers to YouTube TV.
The previous Sunday Ticket rights holder, DirecTV, was paying $1.5 billion per year, so the move to YouTube would be a revenue windfall for the league. Despite holding the rights for nearly 30 years, DirecTV has sustained persistent subscriber losses, making a renewal impossible (the NFL package had about 1.5 million subscribers).
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell signaled that a streamer would likely win out the rights to Sunday Ticket, and it’s easy to see why. Streamers have been racing for sports rights in order to boost subscriber growth, and it’s already paying off. Amazon’s rollout of Thursday Night Football has been a success, and Apple is expecting big things for next year’s premier of Major League Soccer games.
That’s not to say that any major league, especially the NFL, is ditching broadcast anytime soon. The NFL re-upped deals with CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN through 2033 — deals with a total worth of more than $100 billion.