Sunday Ticket is a subscription that provides access to every NFL game on Sundays, if they are outside of the local TV market in which the viewer resides. YouTube will offer Sunday Ticket through YouTube TV, the virtual TV subscription plan, and as a standalone channel within the YouTube app. Lawton described it as a “blend of the way that Sunday Ticket has historically been distributed, through pay TV … but also offers an á la carte way to get the game.”
YouTube will stream the ads that come through the national TV broadcaster, and it will fill the percentage of ad slots that otherwise would go to the local network affiliates.
YouTube will set the pricing, but details of the cost to consumers have not been released yet. YouTube TV typically has a base cost of $64.99 per month, but the price differs according to promotions and how many add-on channels viewers pick. Google has plenty of experience selling YouTube TV ad inventory, as it already gets a percentage of commercial slots on channels that stream there.
NFL Sunday Ticket is available through the end of this season from DirecTV, which charges about $300 for the package.
YouTube TV, which has more than 100 channels, is the largest online pay-TV service, with about 5 million subscribers, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
It will face a steep challenge in making Sunday Ticket profitable. DirecTV, which has about 2 million Sunday Ticket subscribers, has been losing money on the package for years due to its $1.5 billion annual-rights fee.
Sunday Ticket was the only NFL rights package still up for grabs. The league, which regularly delivers the most-watched events on television, signed new long-term distribution deals with its major broadcast partners last year worth more than $100 billion over a decade. Some networks, including NBC and CBS, also got the right to air games on Peacock, Paramount+ or other streaming platforms.