YouTube Reaches Deal for N.F.L Sunday Ticket

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RedZone, a popular feature that allows fans to monitor Sunday games when teams get within scoring range, will no longer be available on DirecTV, but the N.F.L. will continue producing its own version of the broadcast, according to two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. That feature will be available to users through cable providers, such as Comcast, or through their Sunday Ticket subscription on YouTube.

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In recent months, the league explored selling a stake in the N.F.L. Network, its media arm, as part of the Sunday Ticket package. Those talks did not result in a deal, and the N.F.L. will continue those talks, the two people familiar with the matter said.

Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots and chairman of the league’s media committee, said the N.F.L. had used emerging technology for decades to reach fans, including cable and satellite TV. He added that YouTube would also provide N.F.L. fans with seamless access to game statistics and fantasy football results.

“Now, it’s time to move to a new platform to reach younger fans and YouTube makes the most sense,” Mr. Kraft said.

The Sunday Ticket package could prove to be a boon to YouTube, which has been keen to expand its subscriptions as its main business — advertising — has stalled. Football games could draw more sports fans to YouTube TV, which is already the most popular internet-based pay-TV service. The company said in July that it had five million subscribers, surpassing Hulu + Live TV.

YouTube gets the bulk of its revenue from advertising on videos uploaded by users. Stubborn inflation and a slowing economy have prompted advertisers to pull back spending, causing YouTube’s ad sales to contract almost 2 percent in the past quarter, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported in October.

The disappointing results have given more urgency to a yearslong plan for YouTube to expand in other ways. The company said in November that it had 80 million paying subscribers for its music and ad-free premium services, up from 50 million a year earlier. YouTube said this year that YouTube TV had more than five million paid and trial users.