- NFL and Google promise enhanced user experience for new Sunday Ticket streaming product
- Commercial premises distribution included in the deal
- YouTube becomes presenting sponsor of ‘Back Together Saturday’ and ‘Kickoff Weekend’
- NFL to establish creator programme and launch new international YouTube show
The National Football League (NFL) has confirmed a domestic broadcast partnership with Google that will see the Sunday Ticket out-of-market package exclusively distributed via YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels from the start of the 2023 season.
The exact length of the deal has not been confirmed, with the NFL only announcing a ‘multi-year agreement’, but reports suggest it will run for seven seasons. A previous report from the New York Times (NYT) said discussion were on a deal worth US$2.5 billion annually, while CNBC pegs the final fee at US$2 billion per year. Both are a significant increase on the US$1.5 billion per year currently paid by DirecTV for its contract that expires at the end of the ongoing NFL season.
Sunday Ticket will be available as an add-on package for the YouTube TV subscription IPTV service, as well as a standalone a-la-carte offering on YouTube Primetime Channels. Primetime Channels is a new platform that allows users to subscribe to third-party streaming products via YouTube, akin to Prime Video Channels on the Amazon streaming service.
In addition to showing all of the NFL’s out-of-market Sunday regular season games broadcast by Fox and CBS, from 2023 Sunday Ticket will see its user experience updated as it is transformed into a streaming product. No details of pricing have been announced at this stage.
The deal also covers commercial premises, although the NFL and YouTube said they will work to ‘determine additional ways to support distribution’ in those locations.
In addition, the new Sunday Ticket deal includes an extension of YouTube TV’s carriage agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone.
The broad partnership also includes more traditional branding inventory. YouTube is now the presenting sponsor of both ‘Back Together Saturday’, the NFL’s official start to training camp, and ‘Kickoff Weekend’, providing plugins from the first game of the season on Thursday night through to the end of the week one round of games on Monday night.
“We’re excited to bring NFL Sunday Ticket to YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels and usher in a new era of how fans across the United States watch and follow the NFL,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “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.”
“YouTube has long been a home for football fans, whether they’re streaming live games, keeping up with their home team, or watching the best plays in highlights,” said Susan Wojcicki, YouTube chief executive. “Through this expanded partnership with the NFL, viewers will now also be able to experience the game they love in compelling and innovative ways through YouTube TV or YouTube Primetime Channels. We’re excited to continue our work with the NFL to make YouTube a great place for sports lovers everywhere.”
The NFL launched its official YouTube channel in 2015, which now has more than ten million subscribers. As part of the new agreement, the NFL will facilitate exclusive access to official content and attendance opportunities for select YouTube creators at its tentpole events.
While the broadcast partnership is domestically focused, there will be an international element, with the creation of a new NFL International show available on the league’s YouTube channel. A global creator content programme will also be established.
“As the ways fans enjoy NFL football evolve in a changing media landscape, partnerships with innovators like YouTube will ensure that more games are available to more fans,” said Robert Kraft, New England Patriots owner and chairman of the NFL’s media committee. “This partnership will grow our game for future generations and allow them to follow their favourite sport.”