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Google closes in on NFL Sunday Ticket deal

Tim Baysinger
Dec 21, 2022
Illustration of a ticket that looks like a football field.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Google is in the red zone on landing the NFL's Sunday Ticket package for YouTube, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal that was also confirmed by multiple outlets.

Why it matters: The acquisition of Sunday Ticket would be the online video giant's most significant push into live sports.

  • Google would pay as much as $2.5 billion for the package, roughly $1 billion more than DirecTV currently pays, per the New York Times.
  • YouTube's prior experience in sports includes streaming Major League Baseball games for a few seasons.

The big picture: Sunday Ticket moving to streaming continues 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 that 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.

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.

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