Les Gafam montent en puissance sur les contenus sportifs, longtemps la chasse gardée des chaînes traditionnelles.

YouTube ready to bet big on American football rights in the United States

Posted Dec 21 2022 at 17:51

In the United States, American football fans wanting to watch Sunday afternoon games may soon have to tune in… to YouTube. Google’s video platform is indeed in negotiation with the National Football League (NFL) to buy the broadcasting rights of the famous “Sunday Ticket”, according to the American press. The transaction amount was not sent. But Google would be ready to pay up to 2.5 billion dollars a year, according to the “New York Times”.

Today, those rights are owned by DirecTV, a satellite TV broadcaster who bought them for $1.5 billion. Thanks to them, the group has attracted 1.5 million subscribers, who each pay between 300 and 400 dollars to follow the entire season.

But with the rights expiring, DirecTV can hardly put it back to the pot. Like the rest of the sector, the group was the victim of a wave of unsubscription (cord-cutting) in favor of the platforms. But “the Sunday Ticket is ultra-premium: it is a very rare competition, with only 17 matches, and very popular because it takes place on Sundays, when the Americans are in front of their screens” recalls Christophe Lepetit, in charge of economic studies at the Center for Sports Law and Economics (CDES).

Power up

YouTube’s interest in these rights confirms the rise of Gafa in high value-added content, particularly sports. “They are increasingly arriving in this field, and with means that are out of all proportion to traditional players” resumes Christophe Lepetit. Last year, Amazon spent $10 billion over ten years to land NFL Thursday Night games on its Prime Video service. Apple, for its part, bought the rights to Major League Soccer (European-style football) for 250 million a year for ten years.

In France, Amazon has also become the main broadcaster of French football after winning most of the rights to League 1 last year. Ditto for Roland-Garros. In 2019, Amazon had won lot 2 for 3 seasons, until 2023. This year, the Djokovic-Nadal quarter-final was even almost reserved for Prime Video subscribers only, angering France Television and a part public.

Subscriber Triggers

If the Gafams are accelerating, it is because sports content – ​​long the preserve of traditional television channels – is attracting subscribers. However, platforms such as YouTube are increasingly trying to pivot towards a subscription model, so as not to depend solely on highly volatile digital advertising, generated through the distribution of free content that is not always of very good quality. In the third quarter, YouTube’s advertising revenue fell 2% due to inflation and the macroeconomic environment — a first.

To compensate, YouTube relies on YouTubeTV, a $65 per month package providing access to several cable channels. The service already has 5 million subscribers. PrimeTime Channels, for its part, allows you to subscribe to 30 different streaming platforms while remaining inside YouTube.

But YouTube needs exclusive content to keep these products alive. With the Sunday Ticket, the platform will be able to recover some of the subscribers to DirecTV and conquer new ones. The reservoir is large: the NFL’s YouTube account is followed by 10 million people.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *