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YouTube in Advanced Talks for N.F.L. Sunday Ticket


Google’s YouTube is nearing a deal to accumulate the rights to the National Football League’s Sunday Ticket package of games, based on three individuals with knowledge of the talks, a deal that may bring a staple of traditional television into the streaming realm.

Google has discussed paying about $2.5 billion a 12 months to the league, $1 billion greater than DirecTV, which had the rights for years, based on two of the people, who would speak only anonymously to debate confidential negotiations.

The league could receive additional payments based on the variety of YouTube subscribers that Google is capable of add, in addition to other performance benchmarks, the people said. The length of the contract is unclear.

The take care of YouTube, if it goes through, could end in a sudden influx for YouTube TV, its premium streaming product. DirecTV has 1.5 million to 2 million Sunday Ticket subscribers, who pay an extra fee for access to each game on Sunday afternoons except those broadcast of their local markets. YouTube said in July that YouTube TV had greater than five million subscribers and trial users of the product, which costs $64.99 a month.

A deal between YouTube and the N.F.L. might be reached as soon as this week, the people said.

YouTube didn’t reply to a request for comment. A spokesman for the league declined to comment.

YouTube’s pursuit of Sunday Ticket is the most recent sign that live sports, the glue that holds the standard cable bundle together, is shifting toward video-streaming corporations. Amazon reached an agreement last 12 months to stream the N.F.L.’s Thursday night football games on its Prime video service for $1 billion annually, and Apple has struck deals to stream each Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. The Apple TV+ streaming service has already struck wealthy deals to land major stars for its movies and TV shows, including “The Morning Show” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Because the negotiations stretched on, Apple became skeptical that the Sunday Ticket package was value what the N.F.L. was looking for and ended serious conversations a couple of potential deal, an individual conversant in the matter said. Apple honed its deal with completing a deal to sponsor the halftime show for the 2023 Super Bowl, which it believes will raise the profile of its Apple Music service.

DirecTV’s rights for Sunday Ticket are set to run out at the tip of the 2022 regular season. There was years of speculation about who might land the coveted rights.

Throughout the last 12 months, it became clear that the league had set its sights on selling the Sunday Ticket rights to a streaming service. In July, the N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, said in an interview with CNBC that a streaming buyer can be “best for consumers.” Apple, YouTube and Amazon soon emerged as leading contenders, tech giants with bankrolls and audiences sufficiently big to entice the N.F.L.

Quite a lot of aspects weighed on the deal-making process. The league explored bundling the package of out-of-market Sunday N.F.L. games with a few of its other media assets, including the NFL Network, complicating matters. As well as, giants like N.F.L. and Apple are accustomed to getting their way during negotiations, and neither side desired to budge.

Last week, Mr. Goodell said talks were at a “critical” stage.

The Sunday Ticket package is the last big piece of the N.F.L. media rights puzzle to be sold. In March 2021, the league announced 10-year deals with all of its major television partners value greater than $100 billion.

Once the N.F.L. deal is struck, industry speculation will turn to negotiations for the rights to indicate National Basketball Association games, talks which are expected to start in earnest next 12 months. Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, two major N.B.A. rights holders, are expected to explore a bid, as are a number of the biggest streaming platforms.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported YouTube was in advanced talks to accumulate the rights.

Nico Grant and Tripp Mickle contributed reporting.

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