By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, can you explain why Google and YouTube haven’t done a deal with DIRECTV for the NFL Sunday Ticket? Verizon and the Max streaming service just got deals so what’s the deal with DIRECTV? Why don’t they do a deal like that for us in the satellite TV audience? Come on! — Bob, Tulsa.
Bob, that’s a great question. Verizon today announced that it will begin offering a free NFL Sunday Ticket plan for select customers starting tomorrow as part of a marketing partnership with the league and Google. And Google’s parent company, Alphabet, revealed yesterday that it will soon partner with Max to offer the Sunday Ticket as a bundle with the streaming service. The promotions will help both Verizon and Max generate new subscribers and build greater awareness for its service and products.
So, what’s wrong with DIRECTV? Couldn’t the former exclusive carrier of the NFL Sunday Ticket benefit from a sublicensing/marketing deal with Google? (Google obtained the Ticket’s rights last December after it was a DIRECTV exclusive for 28 years. Both YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels are now selling the Ticket.) There are undoubtedly a significant number of DIRECTV subscribers who would be more likely to stay with the satcaster if the Sunday Ticket was still offered as part of their programming package. However, there is a big difference between Google’s deals with Max and Verizon and any marketing arrangement with DIRECTV.
There’s no downside for Google with the Max and Verizon deals. The company will get more revenue from both deals and more subscriptions. But if Google allowed DIRECTV to sell the Ticket to its subscribers, the company might lose some YouTube TV customers because the satcaster’s subs might feel they don’t need to switch TV services. (YouTube TV offers a lower price for the Ticket but it requires getting the $72.99 a month YouTube TV base plan. YouTube Primetime Channels’ Ticket plan costs more but does not require a separate subscription.)
Consequently, it’s unlikely the two companies will sign a marketing partnership. It’s not impossible – Google might eventually conclude it needs DIRECTV to tap the satellite audience – but it’s unlikely.
And before you send me e-mails saying that DIRECTV kept the bar and restaurant business for the Ticket, that was an agreement with a different company that held those rights.
Bob, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann