The National Football League is in negotiations for the NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market pay per view package. DirecTV has been the long-time rightsholder dating back to 1994. The current contract expires after next season, however, the NFL has begun talking to outside parties either to scare DirecTV to pay up, or find a totally new partner.
According to Peter Kafka at All Things Digital, the NFL has begun to talk to Google and its video content provider, YouTube. Now imagine if Google signs. It's not out of the realm of possibility. The company certainly has the money, the infrastructure to distribute through YouTube, to Android-powered tablets and mobiles and even to its Chromebooks. Perhaps down the line, you could even see it through Google Glass.
Currently, DirecTV is paying close to $1 billion a year, but is balking at paying more. Chief Financial Officer Pat Doyle said earlier this year that he would be willing to share Sunday Ticket with cable or even drop it all together to prevent paying double the asking price. Recently, DirecTV has been unwilling to pay what it perceives is high subscriber fees for new sports networks, Fox Sports 1 being a prime example.
So could we see Sunday Ticket on Google platforms? Well, it's certainly possible and this isn't the only meeting the NFL is taking with high tech companies. The league is also rumored to be talking with Apple which would love to have NFL games to sell for Apple TV and send it to iPads and iPhones.
And let's not rule out that cable providers could be in the mix for the Sunday Ticket package. In fact, they should be considered the favorite if DirecTV can't meet the NFL's asking price. But having live NFL games distributed on YouTube or through an Apple device is quite intriguing. It shows that the NFL is thinking outside the box in having its games viewed on non-traditional platforms.
We'll see where this is heading. The NFL loves to have multiple bidders for its television packages and it certainly appears that playing DirecTV off Google, Apple and cable is right up the league's alley.
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