By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, I read that YouTube already has more Sunday Ticket subscribers than DIRECTV ever did. Is that possible? They just started! What’s your take? — Mitch, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Mitch, the article you are referencing comes from NBC Sports under the headline: “NFL says Sunday Ticket has more subscribers on YouTube this year than DIRECTV last year.” The story, which was posted yesterday, says this in the second paragraph: “The NFL said today that the Sunday Ticket package has more subscribers already this year on YouTube than it had on DIRECTV last year.” That may be true, but the article does not say how the NFL said that YouTube’s Ticket has more subscribers than DIRECTV. There isn’t a quote from a league official or mention of a league press release. It just says that the “NFL said.” There’s no attribution.

I’ve looked everywhere online for a quote or statement from the league that makes that claim, including articles from different publications, and I can’t find anything. I didn’t listen to every podcast in America so it’s possible a league official said that during one. I don’t know.

But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the NFL has said YouTube’s Sunday Ticket has more subscribers than DIRECTV did last year. In what context is it saying that? DIRECTV last year gave a free Sunday Ticket package to every new customer who signed up for the Choice plan and above. In addition, the satcaster provided the Ticket for free to an unknown number of existing customers as part of its retention program. So could the league be saying YouTube’s Sunday Ticket has more paying subscribers than DIRECTV did last year. If that’s the case, the answer is likely yes because DIRECTV had so many free ones. But if it’s total subscribers, the claim is less certain.

Unfortunately, we can’t dissect the league’s statement to find out the answer because we can’t find it anywhere! Maybe NBC Sports could enlighten us today by amending the article to show where the “NFL said” information came from.

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

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— Phillip Swann