Google-Sunday Ticket Deal Could Change TV Forever

Dennis Faas's picture

Google is reportedly negotiating with the National Football League (NFL) in an effort to take over rights to the NFL's Sunday Ticket package. If the two sides reach a deal it could be a major boost for online broadcasting.

The package, currently offered by satellite firm DirecTV, allows viewers to watch all Sunday NFL games that aren't available on local television in their area. This includes people who are fans of a team from somewhere else in the country and people who simply want to have access to as many games as possible.

Google and the NFL have both confirmed the meetings have taken place, but won't say exactly what they were talking about. (Source:

Right now DirecTV currently pays around $1 billion per year for Sunday Ticket. However, experts say that with Google getting involved in a bidding war, the price could soar to $1.5 billion.

NFL Sunday Ticket A Money Loser

It's not clear if Google could make money on the deal. One analyst recently estimated that DirecTV brings in around $725 million in revenue through the Sunday Ticket package.

However, it's thought the company is willing to take this loss because some people will get a DirecTV dish specifically to access the football. (Source:

At the moment, NFL Sunday Ticket is only available to non-dish owners if they live in places that aren't in line-of-sight of a satellite. In that case, they can subscribe to a web-based version of the service, but pay a higher fee than dish owners.

Football Fans Want Big Screen Action

A Google-Sunday Ticket deal would have a huge impact on how people think about TV programming.

Compared with a short comedy or even an hour-long drama, it's likely most football viewers would want to watch the game on their television sets rather than on a computer, particularly when watching in groups.

That could encourage them to explore ways of getting Internet video on their television. This could mean viewers hooking up laptops to the TV, or buying special set-top boxes if Google strikes deals with the relevant services.

It could also mean more people buying Google's recently-launched Chromecast, a $30 device that simply plugs into a TV and then displays any video content from a computer or other gadget on the same wireless network.

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