NFL Sunday Ticket is one of the most popular ways for fans to watch their favorite sport, Chicago Bears or otherwise. However, frustrations had been mounting for years over DirecTV not being able to sustain a large customer base. Recent estimates say they’d dropped to 13.5 million customers. So it isn’t a surprise the NFL decide to take the service to a new home. Initial predictions indicated Amazon might be the favorite seeing as they’d already snagged Thursday Night Football. That proved to be incorrect.
In a surprise twist according to Lillian Rizzo of CNBC, streaming titan YouTube reached an agreement with the league to bring Sunday Ticket to their platform. It marks the first time the service has entered the sports landscape in any such capacity.
“The National Football League announced Thursday its Sunday Ticket subscription package would go to Google’s YouTube TV starting next season, marking the league’s second media rights deal with a streaming service.
YouTube will pay roughly $2 billion a year for the residential rights of the Sunday Ticket package, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal runs for seven years, one of the people said.”
The agreement will elevate YouTube’s profile in the competitive streaming space. At the start of the 2023-24 season, Sunday Ticket will be available two ways: as an add-on package on YouTube TV and as a standalone a-la-carte option on YouTube Primetime Channels, which allows you to subscribe to individual streaming services and channels as well as watch movies. Pricing hasn’t been determined.”
This isn’t a huge surprise. YouTube is said to have a user base of around two billion people.
YouTube TV sits at around four million subscribers. Bringing exclusive access via Sunday Ticket is a coup for them. It is guaranteed to spike that number to greater heights in the coming year as fans seek a more accessible way to watch games. The current price for the base plan is $64.99 per month. They stand to make buckets of money with the influx of football fans. Sadly it also likely means they will jack up the price further to maximize their profits.
NFL Sunday Ticket should at least be easier to access now.
DirecTV was never known for making things simple for viewers. They were always primarily a TV platform. While that is fine, their handling of NFL Sunday Ticket was lackadaisical at times. Their presence on the internet was also not overly impressive. Their app has a three-star rating for a reason. Fans were about fed up with the company. YouTube, while far from perfect, brings far more proven experience when it comes to streaming. They will help the NFL continue to change with the times, adjusting to how new fans are viewing their media.
Some people won’t like this. They’ve grown used to Sunday Ticket always being on DirecTV. Change is difficult. Yet it’s also inevitable. You either resist it or embrace it. It happens regardless. Either way, Bears fans will need a YouTube app on their TVs, phones, and tablets moving forward if they want premium access to games. Welcome to a new era.