Fighting has ended for the distribution rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. As of 2023, Google’s YouTube platforms will be able to stream a lucrative sports TV package thanks to the company’s win of the rights to do so.
A partnership between Google and the NFL to offer NFL Sunday Ticket was recently revealed. To have the package available on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels, Google is reportedly paying close to $2 billion every season.
The partnership between Google and the NFL will debut in the 2023 season as an optional extra on YouTube TV and as a stand-alone product on YouTube Primetime Channels. Sunday Ticket’s original home, DirecTV, will continue to air the balance of the NFL season.
In 1994, the NFL introduced a product called NFL Sunday Ticket, which allowed fans to watch Sunday regular season games from markets outside of their own. Since its start, DirecTV has paid the NFL $1.5 billion every time the arrangement is extended in order to maintain exclusive rights to broadcast NFL Sunday Ticket. This time around, the business did not submit a proposal to extend the contract, leaving the door open for potential competitors.
The odds were long in favour of Apple getting the deal, and there was even speculation that the two companies had reached an agreement. However, Apple and the NFL scrapped their talks without ever reaching an agreement. There are two main reasons why things didn’t pan out.
It has been speculated that Apple’s offer wasn’t sufficient, leading to the deal’s failure. According to Daniel Kaplan, “Apple apparently intended to pay less than the NFL demanded so it could sell the product at cheaper costs than incumbent DirecTV,” but the NFL’s contracts with Fox and CBS prevented that.
Apple’s interest in augmented reality and virtual reality may be a contributing factor in the company’s split with the NFL. Rumor has it that Apple wanted the NFL to provide them “known and undiscovered rights” so that it could broadcast games on its speculated virtual reality headset. “In other words, there is no established virtual reality market for Sunday Ticket, but there may be one day,” Kaplan says.
The last stumbling block was the NFL’s belief that Apple’s rivals looked to have a stronger publicity plan. This squares well with what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
For a number of years we have been focused on increased digital distribution of our games and this partnership is yet another example of us looking towards the future and building the next generation of NFL fans.
Google has stated that in addition to the Sunday Ticket contract, it will also be partnering with the NFL to enhance content on the NFL’s YouTube channel, produce a custom NFL international show on YouTube, and launch a content creator programme for “select top YouTube producers internationally.”
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