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YouTube and Apple TV+ make inroads into live sports streaming

Development can be seen as a milepost for live broadcasting

Mathures Paul | Published 23.12.22, 10:54 PM
File picture of Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon is tackled after a catch by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey

File picture of Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon is tackled after a catch by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey

Sourced by The Telegraph

In what appears to be a sound deal on paper, the US National Football League announced that its Sunday Ticket subscription package would go to Google’s YouTube TV starting next season. The rights have been reportedly won for roughly $2 billion a year.It may not mean a big deal for customers outside the US but it will have repercussions in the long run. It has been a months-long bargain.

NFL Sunday Ticket has been available in the US exclusively via DirecTV since 1994 and now comes the change. It will become available either as an add-on for YouTube TV subscribers or à la carte via YouTube Primetime Channels. At the moment, DirecTV has about 13.5 million subscribers but it has been hard hit by cord-cutting; five years ago DirecTV had more than 20 million customers.


It also appears that Apple was keen on the NFL Sunday Ticket deal but it probably fell apart over VR, according to a story from The Athletic. The publication wrote that Apple reportedly wanted the NFL to let it stream football on “known and unknown” platforms, which probably means AR and VR. The language may have appeared vague for an agreement.

It may well be a watershed moment for sports broadcasting, which is now in favour of streaming. So far, we have seen consumers move from cable to streaming services like Netflix for movies and shows but sports fans still watch games on traditional television. A shift is taking place: Apple has gained the rights to Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games while Amazon cut a deal last year for the rights to Thursday night NFL games. And now we have the YouTube deal.

These deals will have repercussions on viewership of traditional networks like Fox and NBC. Consider how many of us have watched the latest edition of FIFA World Cup via JioCinema app. It’s estimated that over 110 million viewers consumed the 2022 edition digitally.

In November, YouTube said it had around 80 million paying subscribers for its music and ad-free premium services or 30 million more than from a year earlier. Meanwhile, Apple has completed a deal to sponsor the halftime show for the 2023 Super Bowl.Apple’s foray into live sports in the form of the Major League Soccer deal is an equally memorable milestone.

The company’s streaming arm — Apple TV+ — has announced that MLS Season Pass will launch on February 1, introducing a subscription service to fans in over 100 countries and regions that features every live MLS regular-season match, the entire playoffs, and the Leagues Cup, all with no blackouts. 

This also allows MLS access to a global platform. All matches will be available on billions of devices through the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes, and game consoles, and the web. The Pass doesn’t yet have a price tag outside the US where it will come for $99 per season or $15 per month while Apple TV+ subscribers get a discounted rate of $79 per season and $13 per month.

We expect an India pricing in the coming weeks.“YouTube has long been a home for football fans, whether they’re streaming live games, keeping up with their home team, or watching the best plays in highlights. Through this expanded partnership with the NFL, viewers will now also be able to experience the game they love in compelling and innovative ways through YouTube TV or YouTube Primetime Channels. We’re excited to continue our work with the NFL to make YouTube a great place for sports lovers everywhere,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said.

At the same time, traditional television will continue to have sway but not like before. A major chunk of NFL games will be exclusive to traditional television for the next decade. According to The New York Times, last year, the league struck decade-long deals with major US TV networks, including Fox, ESPN, CBS and NBC.

Last updated on 24.12.22, 11:28 AM

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