By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I asked you a few months ago if YouTube would add single game plans to the NFL Sunday Ticket. I see yesterday that the Utah Jazz this season will do single games ordering. Do you think YouTube could still offer it this season? – Nathan, Pocomoke, Maryland.
Nathan, starting October 25, the start of the Utah Jazz’ NBA regular season, you will be able to subscribe to individual games for $5 per game on its new streaming service, Jazz+. (You must live in the Jazz’ market of Utah and parts of Idaho and Wyoming. You can learn more about Jazz+ here.) The Utah team joins MSG+ (TV home of the New York Knicks, Rangers and other New York area teams) and the Vegas Golden Knights in offering individual games with its standalone app.
Google, which owns the two YouTube services that provide the NFL Sunday Ticket, is undoubtedly aware of this trend. But until now, Google’s Sunday Ticket has been restricted to two full season plans: One without the NFL RedZone channel and one with. But with week four coming this Sunday, could YouTube fulfill a popular request from fans: single game orders?
Before the season, I opined that I didn’t see Google implementing a single game or single team plan. The company has agreed to pay $2.2 billion a year to the league for the exclusive rights to the Sunday Ticket. To make that investment worthwhile, the company needs a lot of revenue coming back in Ticket subscriptions. If YouTube agreed to offer a single team or single game package, many people who otherwise wouldn’t subscribe would undoubtedly sign up. But the problem is that many people who were willing to pay anywhere from $249 (the pre-June discounted price) to nearly $500 for the entire package might instead have ordered a cheaper single team option or several single games. That would mean less revenue overall for Google.
But now that three weeks have been played in the 18-week season, I suspect that full season orders are slowing considerably. If someone was going to order the Sunday Ticket, he or she would have already done so. Why wait until nearly 20 percent of the season has been completed to order a package that now starts at $349. And that price requires a YouTube TV monthly subscription. Consequently, it might make economic sense for Google to introduce a single game plan, or single week plan, sometime in the next few weeks. Fans who decided not to buy the full season Sunday Ticket could be potential customers of either, which would generate revenue for Google that it otherwise will not get.
DIRECTV, which had the Ticket as an exclusive for 28 seasons, provided single games a few years ago so there’s precedent there. Google likely is privy to the details of DIRECTV’s single-game business so it might conclude it’s worth a try in 2023 so long as its contract with the league permits it. Of course, the single game or single week plan might not be cheap. DIRECTV used to charge $49.99 for a single week of games. I would think that Google would charge something similar for single week ordering but perhaps make individual games around $20.
We have no indication that Google plans to do this, but the company has followed the DIRECTV Sunday Ticket ‘road map’ in other moves so it would not be surprising.
Nathan, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann