YouTube Wants up to $489 to Watch NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV

Here at the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState, baseball is in full swing, the NHL playoffs start in a few days, and the NBA playoffs have already kicked into gear. Naturally, we’re looking at … the NFL.


In December 2022, Alphabet, i.e., Google and YouTube’s parent company, won a bidding war for the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. For the uninitiated or disinterested, NFL Sunday Ticket allows Joe and Jane Fan to follow their team by watching its games regardless of where they live. Dallas Cowboys devotee stuck somewhere in the New Jersey swamps? Miami Dolphins diehard holed up in the Utah hills? Los Angeles Rams rabble rouser located deep in enemy, as in San Francisco 49ers, territory? NFL Sunday Ticket was your ticket to sanity. Or self-torture if your team was terrible.

For years, NFL Sunday Ticket was available through DirecTV as an add-on to its satellite TV service or, more recently, online. DirecTV was paying the NFL some $1.5B a year. It was hemorrhaging red ink on the deal, which included its own edition of NFL RedZone, the channel that, during game day, would constantly flip back and forth between games to show whenever someone was within striking distance of the other team’s end zone. If, week after week, you never saw your team with the ball on NFL RedZone, it was a sure sign you’d be watching a news conference introducing the new head coach shortly.

Anyway, the NFL decided that since its deal with DirecTV ended with the 2022-2023 season, this was the perfect opportunity to overcharge whichever streaming provider wanted to overpay for the privilege of reaching the dozens of fans across the land clamoring to see such immortal rivalries as the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars on their laptop. Disney said no thanks, as they were already losing enough money on Disney+, so YouTube TV and Apple TV were left to battle it out. Apple went with MLS, so YouTube said sure, we’ll pony up $2B a year for the NFL. And now you know why every YouTube video longer than a Kardashian love affair has unavoidable commercial breaks for toenail fungus relief.


On April 12, YouTube announced its price structure for the upcoming season. Assuming you still watch the NFL and want to watch your out-of-market team live, take a deep breath.

  • If you are already a YouTube TV subscriber, as you’ve noticed, the basic service just went up $8 a month to $72.99. Yay, cable-cutting! And you want the NFL? All yours for a modest one-time fee of … $249. Unless you wait until after June 6, then it’s $349.
  • Want NFL RedZone along with all the games? $289, please. But don’t delay, as after June 6, it’ll be $389.
  • What’s that? You’re not a YouTube TV subscriber? No problem. Send those fine folks at Alphabet / Google / YouTube / whatever you want to call them $349. $449 after June 6. Make it $389 if you want NFL RedZone. Of course, it’ll be $489 after June 6!

Now, should you want to watch the Thursday night game regardless of who’s playing, you’ll need an Amazon Prime membership which currently runs $139 a year. The Sunday night game is on NBC, so you’ll need to make sure whichever cable or streaming provider you use has your local NBC affiliate on board, or else you’ll need a subscription to Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. Finally, the Monday night game is on ESPN, thus requiring the same deal as with NBC — be forewarned most cable and streaming services charge a premium for packages including ESPN — or you’ll need a subscription to the ESPN+ streaming service.


Believe it or not, it gets better. Once upon a time, if you had the NFL app on your phone or tablet, you could stream all local and national broadcasts for free. Last season this went away, and NFL+ was born, offering you the privilege of paying $4.99 a month for what used to be free. Or, $9.99 a month, so you could watch a replay of any game 24 hours after it happened! WHOOO!

In case you’re wondering how the NFL’s prices compare to other leagues, bear in mind there is no single-team option for NFL Sunday Ticket. For MLB.TV, a full season of all out-of-market games is $149.99 for all teams, $129.99 for your team alone. NBA League Pass is, depending if you want the basic or deluxe (no commercials) package, $99.99 or $129.99 for a full season, with price reductions if you sign up later in the regular season or for the playoffs. Your team alone is $89.99. The NHL’s best bet is an ESPN+ subscription which runs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. ESPN+ is also available with a subscription to the Disney Bundle including Disney+ (duh) and a lower-tier Hulu for either $12.99 or $19.99 a month. None of these plans, including NFL Sunday Ticket, include local or nationally-televised games.

So there you have it. It will cost between $250 to nearly $500 to watch someone other than the local NFL team this year. I’m quite hopeful YouTube loses its shirt as people refuse to pay the ridiculous price it has posted. In today’s economy, this is a strong possibility. The NFL has thus far proven impervious to the usual “get woke go broke” truism, but its nemesis isn’t political correctness this time. It is its own insatiable, unaffordable greed.



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