Before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, let’s be clear right up front. As far we know, this is not something that is currently in the cards.
DirecTV’s contract with the NFL, which makes it the exclusive provider of NFL Sunday Ticket, which gives football fans access to every NFL game live, is set to expire at the end of next year. And plenty of service providers likely want to offer that to their customers. It is America’s most popular sport after all.
Google and the NFL have reportedly been talking, and Sunday Ticket is said to be one of the things they talked about. Peter Kafka at All Things D reports:
Today [Tuesday], according to sources, Google CEO Larry Page, along with YouTube content boss Robert Kyncl, met with a delegation from the NFL led by commissioner Roger Goodell. And the Sunday Ticket package was among the topics of discussion, according to people familiar with the meeting.
According to Kafka, the NFL execs are also meeting with other Silicon Valley companies while they’re on their trip.
So, just because the subject came up in the discussion, it’s hardly a sure thing that YouTube will get Sunday Ticket. But how great would that be? What it would mean is that all football fans would get access to their games of choice every week, regardless of what television provider they have (for a fee, of course).
For years, fans who don’t have DirecTV have simply been out of luck. They’ve been left with no choice but to miss their games, go to friends’ (with DirecTV) houses or sports bars or turn sketchy streaming sites. Yes, there is always the possibility of actually going to the games, but obviously that’s not always feasible.
If the offering were to come to YouTube, people could watch their games regardless of service provider, but also on any device of their choosing – their television, their tablet, their smartphone, etc.
The NFL has to know about the cord cutting trend, and YouTube would be able to provide its games with an audience regardless of whether or not they have cable, satellite, or just internet.
For Google, who has not historically had a lot of luck in the TV business, this would be the perfect thing to jump start that. The company also happens to be trying to get a legitimate TV service off the ground. What better foundation than all of the NFL’s games?
For DirecTV, losing the offering would be a huge blow. It could also significantly hurt sports bar business on Sundays.
For fans, however, NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube (or a similar online service with apps on as many devices as possible) would be a dream come true.