Back in December of 2022, YouTube and YouTube TV reportedly paid $2 billion for NFL Sunday Ticket. This comes after decades of the service being exclusive to DIRECTV. Now we are getting some idea of exactly why DIRECTV declined to renew their contract and just how expensive that contract was.
Last week at the LA Sports Innovation Conference, Rob Thun, DIRECTV’s Chief Content Officer, opened up about DIRECTV’s massive losses during its time offering NFL Sunday Ticket loses, which he said cost the company a billion dollars a year.
“Well, let me ask you a question. ‘Do you like losing a billion dollars a year?’ That was the old deal. The new deal, it’d be a billion and a half,” he said. “It didn’t make sense for our platform because … We’re losing subs because we’re a pure-play video provider and the price of content continues to escalate beyond what people are willing to pay. We were very data-driven about whether or not to pursue those rights. We didn’t even engage frankly in the conversation. The only piece that we engaged upon was getting the commercial rights.” Said Rob Thun, according to a report from Sports Business Journal.
This raises questions about how much money YouTube TV could be making on its deal with the NFL. We do know that YouTube and YouTube TV now have more NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers than DIRECTV did during its last year. The question now is can YouTube TV find a way to make the service more profitable than DIRECTV did. Or will Google see NFL Sunday Ticket as a loss but as a way to drive more subscribers to YouTube TV.
Currently YouTube TV is reportedly the only live TV service that has been adding subscribers in 2023. Something that many say is because of NFL Sunday Ticket.