Dec 22, 2022 - Economy

YouTube beats out Amazon and Apple for NFL Sunday Ticket

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throwing a football during a game.

Photo: Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Google's YouTube has agreed to a deal with the NFL that will make it the new home for the NFL's Sunday Ticket package beginning next season, the two announced Thursday morning.

Why it matters: The acquisition of Sunday Ticket represents the most significant push into live sports for the online video giant.

  • YouTube beat out Amazon, Disney and Apple for the package. News of the deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday night.

Details: Sunday Ticket will be available as an add-on for YouTube TV as well as a standalone purchase on YouTube Primetime Channels.

  • Google will pay an average of roughly $2 billion a year for the package, roughly $500 million more than DirecTV currently pays, per the Wall Street Journal.
  • Additionally, as part of the agreement, YouTube and the NFL will facilitate exclusive access to official content and attendance opportunities for select YouTube Creators at key NFL tentpole events.

Flashback: YouTube has held rights to a small amount of MLB games that it streamed exclusively for the past four seasons.

  • Last year, YouTube TV added the ability for customers to sign up for MLB’s MLB.TV package for an added cost of $24.99 per month.
  • YouTube's relationship with the NFL began in 2015 when the league launched its official YouTube channel.

The big picture: It's the latest example of Big Tech's encroachment into live sports.

  • Amazon bought the rights to NFL's "Thursday Night Football" franchise for $1 billion a year through 2023.
  • Apple has its own budding sports business with deals with Major League Baseball and a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer that begins next year and could be worth more than $2 billion.

Between the lines: For months, Apple — which had been making a large investment in live sports this year with MLB and MLS deals — had been seen as the likely winner for the rights.

  • Apple is not totally out of the NFL business. It took over from Pepsi as the sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show this season.

Catch up quick: Sunday Ticket had been the exclusive property of DirecTV ever since its inception in 1994.

  • For years, it was a key marketing advantage over rival pay-TV providers, but the struggling company has been unable to justify the high price tag in the streaming era.
  • It is the most expensive out-of-market sports package at nearly $300 a season.
  • The addition of the NFL RedZone channel gave non-DirecTV subscribers a more cost-effective way to watch important moments in games.

What's next: The NFL is still looking for a buyer for a stake in its media business, which includes NFL Films, the NFL Network and RedZone channel.

Go deeper: Sports streaming blitz

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