By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, YouTube TV says it’s looking into more options for Sunday Ticket monthly payments and other features such as single team plans and others. My question is why didn’t they just do this at the beginning when people started ordering? Why weren’t they ready for this now? — Neal, Cleveland.

Neal, many fans have complained to The TV Answer Man that Google is requiring NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers to pay in full when they order the 2023 season. DIRECTV’s Sunday Ticket offered monthly payment plans which made it easier for people living paycheck to paycheck. Even at the early bird discounted rate of $249 for YouTube TV’s Sunday Ticket base plan, that’s a lot of money for some to have to pay all at once. (The $249 discounted rate increases to $349 after June 6.)

Some readers have also expressed disappointment that YouTube did not offer cheaper single team or single game plans or partial packages with fewer games at reduced prices.

The frustration seems to escalate when Google’s support team, or top executives, say they are still looking into those options and will offer updates if current policies change. For instance, this is a statement from Google support on a recent Reddit forum:

“We don’t currently offer the option to pay monthly but are looking into more payment formats to use in the future. You’ll pay for NFL Sunday Ticket as soon as you sign up.”

The question becomes: If monthly payments and/or cheaper packages are possibly good ideas, why didn’t Google didn’t just include them at launch? Why wait until after a large number of people already ordered their packages? After all, Google had months to prepare for the pricing launch and certainly could have nailed down those options by now? It’s not like they are just discovering they may be something that people would prefer.

The only logical answer is that Google would prefer not to offer those features. Paying in full and not having cheaper plans puts more money in the company’s pockets from the start. Google agreed to pay $2.2 billion a year for the Ticket’s rights and it wants to generate as much revenue as possible as soon as possible.

That doesn’t mean it won’t eventually introduce monthly payments and cheaper plans. But my guess is that it won’t do so unless it concludes it will generate a significant increase in subscriptions and revenue. If Google feels that many people are sitting on the sidelines because of the high price and upfront payment policy, it might make a change. Otherwise, probably not.

Neal, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann