One week into the 2023 season, the NFL is touting the success of Sunday Ticket on YouTube.
Per multiple reports, the NFL is claiming to have more subscribers to Sunday Ticket on YouTube this season than it did on DirecTV last season.
NBC Sports reported the claim on Tuesday. Front Office Sports slightly clarified that “YouTube has already signed up more residential subscribers than DirecTV last year.” Last season, it was widely reported that DirecTV had around two million subscribers to Sunday Ticket.
The lack of detail in the NFL’s claims about YouTube’s Sunday Ticket success clouds the statement a bit. We don’t know how many paying subscribers DirecTV had for Sunday Ticket last year, with many users receiving the service for free. We also don’t know how many of this year’s YouTube customers are actually paying for their subscriptions, with some Verizon customers receiving Sunday Ticket for free with their plans.
Despite the lack of clarity and specific figures about Sunday Ticket subscriptions, it says something that the NFL is touting Sunday Ticket’s success so far this season with its new partner. The shift from DirecTV to YouTube opened up the possibility for many more fans to sign up for the service, and it seems like many have taken advantage of the opportunity. (There are also many promos for free or low-cost Sunday Ticket, including one from DirecTV that the NFL isn’t thrilled with.)
I’d also be interested in a breakdown of how many people are subscribing to Sunday Ticket via YouTube TV and how many are purchasing it as a standalone feature through YouTube Premium Channels at a higher price point.
We’ll keep our eyes out for more specific information if the NFL elects to release it. But for now, the pessimism from some about the NFL turning Sunday Ticket into a streaming-only service seems to be misplaced. Early reviews for Sunday Ticket have mostly been positive, and it seems like the NFL’s decision is paying off.