YouTube announced a multi-year deal to provide NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels beginning in 2023. According to CNBC, which cited persons familiar with the subject, the Google-owned video company will pay $2 billion per year for U.S. streaming rights. YouTube promises additional features and functionality for users with the package’s upgrade from DirectTV.
In order to attract more foreign followers, YouTube and the NFL are strengthening their connection in additional ways: The NFL’s official channel will produce more content, while YouTube will launch a new NFL International show and creator program for outstanding global talent. YouTube producers will also have first access to some marquee NFL events. Furthermore, YouTube is now the presenting sponsor of NFL Kickoff Weekend and Back Together Saturday, the league’s official opening of training camp.
If the YouTube arrangement for Sunday Ticket is successful, the NFL will continue its slow march to the streaming arena. This season marked a watershed moment for the NFL, with “Thursday Night Football” debuting on Amazon Prime Video as part of a major 11-year deal with the e-commerce behemoth.
Many NFL games, even key events like the Super Bowl, continue to be dominated by traditional broadcast television. However, the pandemic exacerbated cord-cutting tendencies and spawned a slew of new streaming services, demonstrating that consumer watching patterns are shifting to digital in the long run.
In addition to Amazon’s ambitious “Thursday Night Football” strategy, Apple and, purportedly, Netflix have pursued more live sports licenses from both major and minor leagues. According to the Journal, Amazon and Apple expressed interest in Sunday Ticket, as did ESPN, which declined to owe the hefty cost.
Securing Sunday Ticket might help strengthen YouTube TV, a popular online cable package, and drive attention to YouTube Primetime Channels, a portal that allows users to subscribe to third-party streamers and manage their subscriptions in one place. In November, Primetime Channels debuted.
The NFL is still the crown jewel of American sports and a magnet for big-budget advertising. Amazon has successfully courted businesses that are not native to its e-commerce platform for “Thursday Night Football,” despite a greater emphasis on its ad sales section. Tracking ratings for the show has proven challenging, indicating that the shift from linear to streaming would be tough in several ways.
Nonetheless, Sunday Ticket might help Google rev up YouTube after a tough year that has left the digital ad business bruised. YouTube revenue fell for the first time last quarter, down 2% year on year to $7.01 billion, hurting its parent’s overall performance. The decline contrasted sharply with earlier in the epidemic, when the video-sharing service often showed double-digit growth.