How The NFL & Google’s NFL Sunday Ticket Deal Impacts YouTube Creators

Edition #46

The holiday season is upon us, so today's newsletter is short!

But before jumping into it, I want to thank you for being a reader! I started this newsletter a little more than a year ago (you can read the first edition here) to share my perspective on the creator economy, and it's become one of my favorite things to do. Thank you for taking the time to read, share, and provide feedback! I appreciate it and hope to provide more value in the new year.

I hope you have a great holiday season with plenty of rest and recovery. You can look out for the next edition on January 6th.

What The New NFL Sunday Ticket Deal Means For The NFL, YouTube & Creators

Two of my favorite things are coming together – the NFL and the creator economy.

Details Of The Deal

The NFL and Google have announced an estimated $2 billion, seven-year deal that will bring the NFL Sunday Ticket to YouTube from DirectTV. As part of the deal, fans in the United States will be able to watch every out-of-market NFL Sunday game via YouTube TV and Primetime Channels.

In addition to the yet-to-be-announced product features and functionality, the deal will provide select YouTube creators with exclusive access to tentpole events like the Super Bowl and content opportunities.

What It Means For The NFL

This partnership will give the NFL access to younger and more diverse audiences, who are increasingly consuming sports content on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Increased digital distribution has been a big focus of the NFL in recent years to attract the younger generation of sports fans. What better way to take a big step forward than to bring games directly to YouTube?

What It Means For YouTube

By streaming live NFL games, YouTube will be able to significantly enhance its streaming offerings and increase its appeal to sports fans. Historically, YouTube has been a popular destination for NFL fans and other sports fans seeking highlights, game clips, and interviews. Live sports, though, have typically been restricted to traditional broadcasting. Including live games in the package will help boost sign-ups for YouTube TV and Primetime Channels, thereby furthering its ambitions as a streaming service.

How It Impacts The Creator Economy

The deal will also positively impact the creator economy, as it will open up more access to NFL intellectual property for creators. YouTube-selected creators will be able to attend games and create content distributed through Sunday Ticket and their own channels. In addition, creators will have access to a library of NFL content, such as highlights, clips, interviews, and commentary, which they can use to create Shorts. This also aids YouTube in the ongoing competition for short-form video dominance.

Similar to how ESPN and Amazon have created alternative game streams for Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, YouTube has the potential to offer similar streams powered by creators. These alternative game streams provide fans a fresh and unique experience, allowing them to follow NFL action while enjoying commentary from their favorite streamers.

A Blueprint For YouTube’s Streaming Business

When YouTube launched Primetime Channels, I said it would create a feed-like system where creator content would act as a driver to streaming content and vice versa. The NFL Sunday Ticket deal will provide a clear example of this. It likely will also serve as the blueprint for YouTube's streaming business, making content more accessible across its experiences while allowing creators to leverage partner intellectual property and drive viewership.