The National Football League’s (NFL) Sunday out-of-market package NFL Sunday Ticket has drawn 1.3 million subscribers to YouTube Primetime Channels and YouTube TV, according to a report from analytics firm Antenna released this week.
The report, cited by financial news outlet Bloomberg, said the figure was around 100,000 subscribers more than what DirecTV had for its NFL Sunday Ticket sign-ups last year, the final year it was offered through an exclusive arrangement with the satellite TV platform.
NFL Sunday Ticket costs $450 per season when purchased through YouTube Primetime Channels, the streaming marketplace offered through the YouTube app, and $350 per season when tacked on to a $73-per-month subscription to YouTube TV.
There are already signs that NFL Sunday Ticket has helped drive interest in YouTube TV, with Antenna reporting around two out of five NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers there were new customers to the streaming cable TV alternative.
“It’s a really great win-win for the NFL and YouTube,” Jonathan Carson, the co-founder and CEO of Antenna, told Bloomberg in an interview.
NFL Sunday Ticket offers live access to games aired on local CBS and Fox affiliates beyond a customer’s home area. When combined with a subscription to YouTube TV, football fans are able to watch all games televised by CBS and Fox, as well as “Sunday Night Football” on NBC and “Monday Night Football” on ESPN and ABC, all from a single location.
The only live games not available through YouTube TV are nationally-televised match-ups on “Thursday Night Football,” which is exclusive to Amazon’s Prime Video and Twitch. Replays of Thursday Night Football are aired on NFL Network — which is carried on YouTube TV — between 30 and 90 minutes after the game ends on Prime Video.
NFL programming is some of the most-sought on domestic television. All three major broadcast networks placed heavy bids to secure multi-year rights to NFL games, which can draw tens of millions of viewers to broadcast and cable TV.
The four broadcast networks each bid between $1 billion and $2 billion per year for NFL games through 2032, while Google reportedly plunked down around $2 billion per year to secure NFL Sunday Ticket until 2030.
Live sports is also one of the key elements behind rising cable, satellite and streaming live TV prices over the last few years, as broadcasters seek to recoup their investments in telecast rights by raising programming-related fees on pay TV companies. Those fee demands have led to repeat blackouts of programming as well as higher bills for subscribers.