For the NFL, signing with YouTube is a “massive win,” said Daniel Cohen, executive vice president of media rights consulting at Octagon.
The league got a good price and built another relationship with a deep-pocketed tech company that could bid on future NFL broadcast rights, Cohen added. In addition to selling Thursday night NFL games to Amazon.com, the league reached a deal with Apple this fall to sponsor its Super Bowl halftime show.
Executives at DirecTV, which has offered Sunday Ticket for nearly three decades, have been hoping that whoever wins the rights will cut a side deal with them. The company is losing TV customers at a rapid clip as more people cancel their pay-TV subscriptions, and has been looking for ways to stem the bleeding. Under such an agreement, DirecTV could help YouTube move Sunday Ticket subscribers to its service, while the satellite-TV service would benefit by maintaining a relationship with that customer.
“To the extent that we’re partners on that, we will be very helpful,” Rob Thun, DirecTV’s chief content officer, said in an interview this fall. “To the extent that we’re not, we don’t really have a lot of skin in the game to help them take on those new customers.”
DirecTV is also interested in reselling Sunday Ticket to rural customers who don’t have strong enough internet to stream the games, Thun said. Additionally, the company is hoping to keep airing games in bars and restaurants. It recently made a similar arrangement with Amazon for Thursday Night Football.
The NFL and YouTube are looking at additional ways to distribute NFL Sunday Ticket in commercial establishments such as bars and restaurants.
“It makes a heck of a lot of sense for us to be a partner on the commercial front, given that those relationships have taken years to establish and cultivate,” Thun said.