YouTube beats out Amazon and Apple for NFL Sunday Ticket
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.
- Talks reportedly broke down after Apple wanted more flexibility in the deal than the NFL could offer.
- 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