YouTube Reaches Deal for N.F.L Sunday Ticket

RedZone, a popular feature that allows fans to monitor Sunday games when teams get within scoring range, will no longer be available on DirecTV, but the N.F.L. will continue producing its own version of the broadcast, according to two people familiar with the matter not authorized to speak publicly. That feature will be available to users through cable providers, such as Comcast, or through their Sunday Ticket subscription on YouTube.

In recent months, the league explored selling a stake in the N.F.L. network, its media arm, as part of the Sunday Ticket package. Those talks did not result in a deal, and the N.F.L. will continue those talks, according to the two people familiar with the matter.

The Sunday Ticket package could prove to be a boon to YouTube, which has been keen to expand its subscriptions as its main business — advertising — has stalled. Football games could draw more sports fans to YouTube TV, which is already the most popular internet-based pay TV service. The company said in July that it had five million subscribers, surpassing Hulu + Live TV.

YouTube gets the bulk of its revenue from advertising on videos uploaded by users. Stubborn inflation and a slowing economy have prompted advertisers to pull back spending, causing YouTube’s ad sales to contract by almost 2 percent in the past quarter, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported in October.

The disappointing results have given more urgency to a yearslong plan for YouTube to expand in other ways. The company said in November that it had 80 million paying subscribers for its music and ad-free premium services, up from 50 million a year earlier. Earlier this year, YouTube said that YouTube TV had more than five million paid and trial users.

“YouTube has long been a home for football fans, whether they’re streaming live games, keeping up with their home team, or watching the best plays in highlights,” Susan Wojcicki, the chief executive of YouTube, said in a statement.

The deal culminates years of industry speculation over who would land the coveted package of games that began in 2019 when John Stankey, then the chief operating officer of DirecTV’s former owner, AT&T, said the company was rethinking its deal for Sunday Ticket.

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