New data from research firm Antenna estimates that 1.3 million consumers signed up for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package via YouTube through the end of September and of those 62% have come by way of YouTube TV subscribers.
Since snagging NFL Sunday Ticket rights long-held by DirecTV, Google this year offered NFL Sunday Ticket via its virtual MVPD YouTube TV at a discount, or on an a la carte basis through YouTube Primetime Channels.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of Sunday Ticket purchases via YouTube came at the start of the NFL season in early-to-mid September, per Antenna’s “State of Subscriptions – Sports” report, released Tuesday. Antenna cited the sports rights package on YouTube TV as driving an “impressive volume of NFL Sunday Ticket transactions” considering the research company estimates YouTube TV has a total subscriber base of 7.3 million, meaning around 11% of subs have access to the package. Google hasn’t recently disclosed updated subscriber figures for YouTube TV, but Leichtman Research Group estimated it had around 5.9 million subscribers as of the end of June.
Of those purchasing through YouTube TV, 69% came from existing subscribers of the vMVPD, while 31% were new to the live streaming TV service when they signed up for the Sunday Ticket package.
“This also means that NFL Sunday Ticket has helped drive around 250k incremental subscriptions to YouTube TV through September,” wrote Antenna in the report. “Given that YouTube TV pricing starts at $72.99 per month, these new Subscribers are driving substantial additional revenue.”
As pointed out by NextTV, the Antenna figure for NFL Sunday Ticket signups via YouTube TV differs from separate earlier Morgan Stanley estimates, which suggested only 20% of what the firm’s estimated 1.5 million Google-sold subscriptions to the NFL package came through the bundled vMPVD option. Morgan Stanley also projected it would take 3.18 million subscribers for Google to break even on its multi-year rights package, pegged at around a reported $2 billion per season for the out-of-market games.
As for Antenna’s latest report, the research company suggested the 38% of Sunday Ticket signups that it found came through YouTube’s Primetime Channels could be a boon for the nascent aggregation platform in the long run. YouTube’s Primetime Channels launched roughly a year ago in 2022 and is similar to premium subscriptions available through The Roku Channel or to Amazon Channels. Antenna noted the exclusive and high-profile Sunday Ticket package helps raise consumer awareness and significantly increased overall signups for Primetime Channels in September.
With a total of 1.3 million signups overall to Primetime Channels since November 2022, per Antenna, the NFL Sunday Ticket package accounted for 35%, with the remaining split between the 14 other services offered on the platform that the firm measures. In August NFL Sunday ticket accounted for 57% of Primetime Channels signups and a whopping 80% in September. It’s worth noting Antenna only measures a portion of services available via Primetime Channels, which counts more than 40 options for streaming services and add-ons.
“In September, Primetime Channels had more than three times the volume of Sign-ups than in any month before NFL Sunday Ticket launched,” Antenna noted.
Antenna’s report also indicates that 45% of NFL Sunday Ticket signups are by viewers under the age of 45, including 18% in the 18-34-year-old demo and 27% of signups by those ages 35-44.