NFL Sunday Ticket will be moving from DirecTV to YouTube TV beginning this NFL football season. And while this move has the potential to bring more NFL games to more viewers without requiring a subscription to a specific cable provider, it comes with one major challenge: latency.
Since YouTube TV is only available over the Internet as an online streaming service, viewers will experience a delay between the on-field game and the broadcast that’s significantly longer than what they have come to expect from broadcast television or DirecTV.
As NFL analyst Warren Sharp points out, for this year’s Super Bowl broadcast, YouTube TV was a full 54 seconds behind the live action on the field.
YouTube TV was 54 seconds behind real-time for the last Super Bowl ?
not sure the delay for a regular Sunday afternoon during next NFL season with Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV but likely more than it was with DirecTV (with dish, latency of ~ 24-30 seconds) pic.twitter.com/gCGONS21Sn
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 11, 2023
While this may not seem like a big deal to some, Sharp explained that this lengthy delay (which was the worst in five years for the Super Bowl across services) between the live action and the broadcast could be problematic for live-betting purposes and for those attempting to follow along with the game on social media.
“For live betting it matters how ‘off’ your TV is from real-time,” Sharp explained in a follow-up tweet. “For the average fan who isn’t betting, the annoyance will be seeing local beat reporters tweet play results well before you see them or @NFL tweet a TD highlight before it happens on your TV.”
Some other prominent members of the sports media community had similar concerns.
Very interesting chart. With live betting becoming bigger and bigger, this matters a lot (for those who partake). https://t.co/vgkh052uml
— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) April 11, 2023
Especially if you like to scroll Twitter during the games
— Adam Matthew (@JNennski) April 11, 2023
say good bye to the "micro betting" markets that every major sportsbook player is attempting to sell Wall Street for unlimited growth opportunities unless the latency issue is addressed by all parties involved https://t.co/hkSnQo7RJ6
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) April 11, 2023
This is going to be an issue https://t.co/bwBNobkfr9
— Donnie 'RightSide' Seymour (@RightSideVP) April 11, 2023
This sort of latency certainly isn’t ideal for a broadcast of the most popular sports league in the country, and it’s especially problematic given the proliferation of gambling throughout the NFL community. We’ll have to see if YouTube is able to address it in any capacity before rolling out the service this fall.