The YouTube video platform, owned by Google, has acquired rights to broadcast matches of the National football league (NFL) – the North American football championship – in the United States. A first for the technological giant, which illustrates the rise of streaming in sport. According to several American media, Google will pay about two billion dollars a year, over seven years, to be able to retransmit the matches played on Sundays, via its paid video service YouTube TV, which is only available in the United States. The annual sum paid by Google could even increase further if certain criteria are met, according to these media.
To access meetings in this way, subscribers to the YouTube TV channel package will have to pay an additional sum to the price of their subscription, which already amounts to 65 dollars per month. They will not be able to see the matches played in their immediate geographical area, ie of their local team, which are the subject of a separate contract. Other streaming players, such as Amazon (which already broadcasts an NFL game every Thursday) and the sports channel ESPN (owned by the Disney group) were also interested in these rights, says the Wall Street Journal.
The contract does not ensure exclusivity because the two national channels Fox and CBS already jointly hold the rights to these meetings and will continue to broadcast them in the United States.
Reach a younger audience
NFL boss Roger Goodell, quoted in the statement, hailed the start of a “new era in how fans access the NFL” and watch games. The NFL has developed, for many years, the distribution of its content on YouTube, with summaries of matches and videos showing the best actions of a day of championship.
This is an opportunity for her to reach a younger audience, more attracted by short videos than the retransmission of a match which lasts, on average, more than three hours because punctuated by very many stoppages. For the owner of the New England Patriots team, Robert Kraft, quoted in the press release, this agreement “will allow more matches to be accessible to more fans. This partnership will enable the growth of our sport through future generations.”
A contract that belonged to a satellite television operator
The NFL’s official YouTube channel, which has more than 10 million subscribers, also regularly uploads short behind-the-scenes footage of the world’s most powerful sports league. The NFL also intends to add value to this new collaboration by making it easier for YouTube to access official content and by associating YouTube creators with events. In addition to YouTube TV, users of the platform will be able to access match broadcast channels via Primetime Channels, an on-demand channel platform.
The broadcasting rights acquired by YouTube from 2023 have so far been owned by satellite operator DirecTV, which pays around $ 1.5 billion a year to the NFL, according to several American media. This service cost between 300 and 400 dollars per year, depending on the benefits. the Wall Street Journal says DirecTV, which is losing ground due to competition from streaming, with less than 14 million subscribers today compared to more than 20 million 5 years ago, was losing nearly $500 million a year with NFL broadcast.
Thursday’s deal bolsters the sports position of YouTube TV, which last year began offering Major League Baseball games for $25 a month on top of the basic subscription. YouTube also owns the rights to broadcast some matches of the Brazilian football championship.
The objective is undoubtedly to further expand the sports offer in the future, according to an expert quoted by the Wall Street Journal. According to him, all players in the sector would like to “be this unique application where the user consumes all their content”.
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