Google's YouTube eyes NFL Sunday Ticket bid - report

Competition for the NFL Sunday Ticket bid remains intense, with Google reportedly entering the running alongside the likes of Apple, Amazon and Disney.

According to the New York Times, the tech giant has offered a bid from YouTube for the rights beginning in 2023. It’s unknown how much money Google’s willing to put on the table, but the NFL reportedly wants to sell the package for more than $2.5 billion annually.

YouTube is by no means unfamiliar with sports streaming deals. It renewed in April a live streaming deal of 15 Major League Baseball games for the 2022 regular season. MLB.TV has been an add-on for YouTube’s live TV lineup since February 2021.

Though there are several big names vying for the ticket, a report from Puck earlier this month suggested Apple was the likely winner, citing sources close to the negotiations. Apple has a couple of major sports deals under its belt, including one for MLB’s Friday Night Baseball and a 10-year streaming deal for Major League Soccer.

Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and business officer, told the NYT the league expects to finalize a deal in the coming months. The decision is being delayed as NFL wants to include some of its other assets in the deal, like the NFL Network, NFL RedZone and the league’s proprietary streaming service NFL+.

News of NFL+ came about in May, and the service officially launched today.

“A number of companies are in strong position to potentially land Sunday Ticket, but we still have a ways to go in this process,” Rolapp stated to the NYT.

Amazon and Disney have also put in work into securing sports rights. Amazon recently bagged U.K. streaming rights for UEFA soccer matches. While Disney was had been in the running for cricket streaming rights in India. Though it lost that bid to Viacom18, Disney paid $3.01 billion to keep regional broadcasting rights.

Disney’s ESPN is also reportedly holding onto Formula 1 media rights in the U.S. for the next three years.

NYT added viewers will likely pay a premium to watch Sunday Ticket games, regardless of which streaming service wins the rights. People familiar with the negotiations said it’s not clear whether that premium would cost more or less than what DirecTV currently charges subscribers  – $294 annually for access to the NFL Sunday Ticket package.

With talks of the NFL Sunday Ticket moving to streaming, a recent survey noted viewers are increasingly interested in livestreamed sporting events. Recent data from Parks Associates pointed out about 78% of people subscribed to an OTT sports service have livestreamed an event.

But not all sports programming is shifting towards streaming. An April TiVo survey noted 29% of respondents said cable or satellite was the best way to watch live events like the Super Bowl and some regional sports networks. For that reason, some cord cutters have switched back to linear services.