One of the most exciting aspects of NFL Sunday Ticket moving to streaming was the potential for new, more flexible subscription options—like, say, being able to sign up for just a single team’s games, or even purchasing just an individual Sunday matchup.
But so far, NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV hasn’t served up any subscription innovations at all, and based on recent quotes from an NFL media executive, the ability to purchase anything less than every single game of a Sunday Ticket season won’t be coming anytime soon.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated (as relayed by Awful Announcing and Cord Cutters News), NFL chief media officer Brian Rolapp pretty much spiked the idea of buying an individual NFL Sunday Ticket game.
We’ve never liked that model. We haven’t heard a ton of that in our fan research that they want that. We think the value of the product is pretty good. Is there an opportunity for less than all games, maybe. We haven’t seriously talked about à la carte games. That’s nowhere really in our future.
That sounds like a pretty definitive “no” as far as single NFL Sunday Ticket games are concerned, while the “maybe” for a “less than all the games” option sounds less than enthusiastic.
So for now, it’s all-or-nothing for NFL Sunday Ticket, which means forking over either $349 for the entire season if you’re a YouTube TV subscriber (with YouTube TV itself costing $72.99 a month), or $449 for standalone NFL Sunday Ticket through YouTube Primetime Channels.
Those are crazy prices for anyone except the most devoted NFL fans, leaving many of us who only follow a single out-of-market team content to stay on the sidelines. (Making the pricing even less appealing is the fact that prime-time and locally broadcast NFL games aren’t included in Sunday Ticket.)
You’d think YouTube TV would want to offer more flexibility when it comes to NFL Sunday Ticket plans, particularly given how much money it’s losing because of the NFL deal. Market analysts at Morgan Stanley project that YouTube stands to lose $1.2 billion this season alone over NFL Sunday Ticket rights, with even bigger annual losses predicted in the years ahead.
But while other sports leagues, such as the NBA, do allow streamers to opt for individual teams (think NBA Team Pass) or even single games, the NFL and YouTube TV refuse to budge. Indeed, YouTube only recently allowed NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers to pay in monthly installments rather than coughing up the entire amount up front (and you can’t tap out after just a month or two, by the way).
An affordable but audio-only alternative to NFL Sunday Ticket for out-of-market games is NFL+, which lets you stream live audio of all NFL games starting at $6.99 a month.
Or there’s always Dave & Buster’s.