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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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YouTube Completes Day 1 Of NFL Sunday Ticket Without Major Incident

  • Streamer completes largely successful first game day.
  • Even ardent critics of NFL-YouTube deal soften their tone.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It was largely no-news-is-good-news for YouTube in its first game day with NFL Sunday Ticket.

After nearly nine months of anticipation, the Google-owned YouTube began its seven-year, $14-billion-plus deal to operate the NFL’s out-of-market game package — transitioning the product from almost three decades of satellite distribution to a fully digital format — and there were no major hiccups and outages.

There were some individual reports of problems with logging in, audio controls, and overall customization of game viewing. But the long-running product still migrated to the internet without a significant issue.

Even famed sports media personality Chris Russo — a particularly outspoken critic of this deal and many other sports streaming pacts — could load up the NFL games without incident.

Moreover, lag times for the game streams compared to real-time were often hovering at 20 to 60 seconds — often better than comparable figures across numerous platforms for Super Bowl LVII at the end of last season.

The NFL’s transition of the out-of-market games from the prior home of DirecTV to YouTube was designed to both innovate the product generally but also place it on a “platform that was growing” as opposed to one declining, said Brent Lawton, NFL vice president of business development and strategic investments.

DirecTV, however, still has commercial rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.

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