The National Football League (NFL) is in "advanced talks" to award Google's YouTube with exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. The Sunday Ticket is the premium subscription package for out-of-market football games that have long been the domain of DirecTV. The deal, however, will not include a stake in NFL Media, which includes the linear cable channels NFL Network and RedZone, which the league has been shopping alongside the Sunday Ticket rights.
Terms of the deal were still being ironed out Tuesday, sources said. DirecTV has been paying $1.5 billion annually since 2015. The NFL has been seeking a buyer for Sunday Ticket willing to pay between $2 billion and $3 billion. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier that the league aimed to announce a rights deal with Sunday Ticket by the end of the fall. The Sunday Ticket package has been the NFL’s only set of media rights that has yet to be renewed through 2030.
The deal with YouTube TV comes after various media operators, including Amazon, Apple and Disney’s ESPN, considered the rights to the property. The NFL was in close talks with Apple until recently, the people said. However, existing restrictions around Sunday Ticket had slowed negotiations with Apple in recent months, CNBC previously reported.
Why it matters
If YouTube pulls off the NFL Sunday Ticket deal, it will further loosen the ties between live sports and traditional pay TV. In recent years, various sports rights have been granted or extended to major direct-to-consumer (DTC) subscription streaming services, including NBCUniversal's Peacock, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+. For YouTube TV, Sunday Ticket has the potential to pull in a wave of new subscribers. This summer, Google said YouTube TV had more than 5 million customers (including those on free trials), making it the biggest internet TV service in the U.S.