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Google confirms pricing plans for NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV

Tech giant hopes to drive subscriptions to its streaming platform with live NFL.

12 April 2023 Steve McCaskill

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  • Google is reportedly paying up to US$2.5bn a season
  • DirecTV was previous owner of rights to out of market games
  • Google TV adds 800 FAST channels

Google has confirmed pricing details for the National Football League’s (NFL) Sunday Ticket package of out of market fixtures on YouTube TV from next season, and has added more than 800 free channels to Google TV as it seeks to tie more viewers into its video ecosystem.

The tech giant fended off reported competition from the likes of Amazon and Apple to win a protracted battle for the NFL rights last December and will reportedly pay between US$2 billion and US$2.5 billion a year for the privilege.

As expected, there are no single-team or single-match options, with Sunday Ticket available as an add-on to existing YouTube TV plans and as a standalone subscription.

Discounts are available to existing subscribers, with Google positioning its streaming service as the only place to watch every single NFL match apart from Amazon’s Thursday Night Football (TNF) coverage – complete with additional features such as in-game fantasy stats and highlights.

YouTube TV base plan subscribers can add Sunday Package for US$349 a year or elect for a bundle with NFL RedZone for US$389 a year. Non-subscribers can expect to pay another US$100 a season for either package, while Google is offering another US$100 discount for anyone who signs up during a pre-sale period.

A new ‘multiview’ option means viewers will be able to watch multiple games simultaneously, while Google is also working on ecommerce integrations and social features. 

Separately, Google has strengthened its play for viewers who don’t want to pay for streaming services. Google TV, the company’s operating system for smart TVs and Chromecast devices, has integrated several popular free advertising supported television (FAST) platforms, including Fox’s Tubi and Paramount’s Pluto TV, into its interface in the US.

While Google won’t monetise these viewers directly, the FAST services will bring more users into its TV ecosystem, generating valuable data. Users could eventually be transformed into YouTube TV subscribers in the future.

SportsPro says…

Google’s pricing strategy had to find a tricky balance between multiple competing interests. The subscription cost had to be sufficient to justify the expense of Google’s outlay and competitive enough to attract interest, but not too competitive that the NFL’s linear broadcast partners CBS and Fox felt their audience was being cannibalised.

The cost of the add on is more expensive than DirecTV’s offering, but there’s no need to subscribe to an expensive satellite TV platform to watch the games.

Distribution via YouTube TV will make Sunday Ticket more affordable and accessible to millions of Americans and Google will feel it has achieved the balance it was looking for.

Sunday Ticket has always been a niche product, and will remain so in the streaming era, but 2023 will be the first year that many people in the US actually think about subscribing.

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