According to three people with knowledge of the talks, Google’s YouTube is close to a deal to purchase the rights to the Sunday Ticket package of National Football League games. This deal would transform traditional television into a streaming platform.
According to two people who spoke anonymously, Google discussed paying the league $2.5 billion per year. This is $1 billion more than DirecTV, which held the rights for years.
According to people, additional payments could be made to the league based on how many YouTube subscribers Google can add and other performance benchmarks. It needs to be made clear how long the contract will last. If the deal with YouTube goes through, it could lead to a surge in YouTube T.V.’s premium streaming product.
DirecTV currently has 1.5 million to 2 million Sunday Ticket subscribers. They pay an additional fee to access every Sunday afternoon game, except those broadcast in their local markets.
YouTube claimed in July that YouTube T.V. has more than five million subscribers. The trial version of YouTube T.V. costs $64.99 per month. A deal could be reached by YouTube and the N.F.L. as quickly as this week.
YouTube didn’t respond to our request for comment. A spokesperson for the league declined to comment.
YouTube’s pursuit of Sunday Ticket is just one example of how live sports, which holds traditional cable bundles together, is moving towards video-streaming companies.
Last year, Amazon and Apple agreed to stream Thursday night N.F.L. football games via its Prime video service.
Apple also has deals to stream Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. Apple TV+ has already made deals to secure major TV stars for its movies and T.V. shows. Apple began to doubt that Sunday Ticket was worth the N.F.L.’s asking price.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple stopped serious discussions about a possible deal after becoming skeptical that Sunday Ticket was worth what the N.F.L. wanted.
Apple has shifted its focus to securing a sponsorship deal for the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show, which it believes will increase the visibility of its Apple Music service.
The rights to Sunday Ticket from DirecTV will expire at the close of the 2022 regular season. The coveted rights have been rumored for years. It became apparent that the league aimed to sell Sunday ticket rights to a streaming platform within the past year.
In July, the N.F.L. announced that it sold the Sunday Ticket rights to a streaming service. Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L., stated in an interview that a streaming buyer would be best for consumers.
Apple, YouTube, and Amazon quickly emerged as top contenders. These tech giants have large audiences and bankroll big enough to attract the N.F.L.