Part 1 of a three-part series exploring many changes in NFL television coverage this season:
▪ NFL Sunday Ticket is moving from DirecTV to YouTube TV. And it will cost you more to watch it.
YouTube will pay $2 billion per year during the next seven seasons, a sizable increase over DirecTV’s $1.5 billion rights annual fee.
Beginning this season, those out-of-market games can be purchased as an add-on package on YouTube TV (if you’re a YouTube subscriber) or a standalone a la carte option, through YouTube Primetime Channels, if you subscribe to a different streaming service (or a cable or satellite television provider).
YouTube TV has just more than five million subscribers; there are 122 million TV households. But more than two billion access YouTube content each month, according to the company.
Here are YouTube’s announced post-June 6 prices for Sunday Ticket:
For YouTube TV subscribers: $349…
For YouTube TV subscribers if you bundle Sunday Ticket with the Red Zone channel: $389
For non-YouTube TV subscribers who want to order Sunday Ticket a la carte and keep their current satellite, cable or streaming service: $449
For non-YouTube TV subscribers who want to bundle Sunday Ticket with Red Zone: $489
By contrast, DirecTV — which had two million Sunday Ticket subscribers — offered the service free for one season for many first-time DirecTV subscribers and charged others $300 and as much as $400 if bundled with DirecTV’s Red Zone channel.
DirecTV continues to own Sunday Ticket rights with regard to sports bars and restaurants; the games will be carried in establishments that reach a deal with DirecTV, as has been the case in past years.
FYI: Verizon home internet subscribers get Sunday Ticket for free this season.
▪ Amazon was stuck with some garbage games last year that didn’t look that bad before the season, including a Colts-Broncos overtime field goal snoozefest.
Their schedule this year doesn’t look particularly better.
There are six games involving two teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season: Chicago-Washington in Week 5, Tennessee-Pittsburgh in Week 9, Carolina-Chicago in Week 10, New England-Pittsburgh in Week 14, New Orleans-Rams in Week 16, and Jets-Cleveland in Week 17.
▪ The NFL will be able to move games from Sunday afternoon to Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” package once or twice this coming season, but only between weeks 13 through 17 and with at least four full weeks notice.
Those are stricter flexing rules than those placed on the league’s Sunday and Monday night packages. The Thursday flex plan has been approved for one year only, but will carry into 2024 if no games are flexed this season.
The games eligible to be flexed off Thursdays this season are Seattle-Dallas (unlikely), New England-Pittsburgh, Chargers-Raiders, New Orleans-Rams and Jets-Browns.
▪ Teams are not required to get at least one national appearance, and Arizona, Houston, Indianapolis and Atlanta have no prime time games. The Colts have one national appearance, against the Patriots, in Week 10 in Germany.
▪ Quick notes: Jason McCourty joins NBC’s Sunday night pregame show… Scott Van Pelt replaces Suzy Kolber, who was laid off, on ESPN’s “Monday Night NFL Countdown” studio show. And Marcus Spears and Ryan Clark join the show as analysts, alongside Robert Griffin III and Adam Schefter.... Fox’s NFL broadcast teams return intact, including the top two teams (Kevin Burkhardt-Greg Olsen and Joe Davis-Daryl Johnston). Tom Brady has said he will join Fox’s lead team in 2024.
▪ If you missed it: Dolphins games are moving from WQAM 560 to iHeart radio stations WINZ 940 and Big 104.3. Jimmy Cefalo and Joe Rose will remain the announcers, with Rose permitted to continue hosting his morning show for WQAM 560. Dolphins games move from WINZ to WIOD 610 when there are Marlins conflicts.
Coming Wednesday and Thursday: Exploring many more changes in how you will watch the NFL on television this season, including a stunning playoff development and the league’s new RedZone plan.