Could Google/YouTube be in the mix for NFL Sunday Ticket?

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Who will have the rights to Sunday Ticket in 2015? (USATSI)
DirecTV currently owns the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, the satellite package that telecasts every out-of-market regular-season NFL game. But their contract expires after the 2014 season, and that could open the door for other media companies to bid on the subscription that costs DirecTV $1 billion a year.

One such media company: Google.

Google CEO Larry Page and YouTube content chief Robert Kyncl met with NFL officials, including commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday, according to AllThingsD.com, and NFL Sunday Ticket was among the topics discussed.

In a world where content -- both written and video -- continues to migrate online (Hulu, Netflix and, yes, YouTube have all had success with original content and/or traditional television programming), it's reasonable to think that Google, which reported $14.1 billion in revenues last quarter, would be interested in the exclusive rights to the most popular game in the country.

In March, DirecTV CFO Pat Doyle was asked about the future of Sunday Ticket and he said that DirecTV would consider striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly dropping Sunday Ticket altogether.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. A Google-NFL meet-and-greet is a long way from a deal, and the notion of the league abandoning television for internet-only Sunday Ticket viewing is a pretty radical one. AllThingsD.com adds: "Goodell and other NFL executives are meeting with multiple Silicon Valley companies on this trip, which is one they make annually."

So for now, Sunday Ticket remains DirecTV-only, subscription-based programming that costs subscribers anywhere from $224.95 to $299.95 (for new subscribers, Sunday Ticket is free for one season). But in 18 months, that could all change, especially if the NFL has multiple bidders.

 
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