The 2023-24 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night, and professional football fans are facing the biggest change in TV coverage for the sport in years.
NFL Sunday Ticket – the streaming TV package that lets football fans watch all out-of-market Sunday afternoon NFL games during the regular season – is moving to YouTube this season. YouTube takes the mantle of Sunday Ticket from DirecTV, which had held the exclusive rights for the programming since 1994.
Read more: YouTube TV vs. Hulu Plus Live TV: The Top Streaming Services Compared
Sunday Ticket for the 2023-24 NFL season is available through YouTube TV, Google’s cablelike streaming TV service that runs $73 per month, or YouTube Primetime Channels, which offers a la carte subscriptions to providers like Starz, Max and Paramount Plus.
An NFL Sunday Ticket subscription is a significant purchase – the service costs hundreds of dollars per season, and it isn’t any cheaper now that it’s on YouTube. Read on to learn everything you need to know about NFL Sunday Ticket for the upcoming NFL season.
What is NFL Sunday Ticket?
NFL Sunday Ticket is a streaming video service that lets football fans watch all the “out-of-market” football games on a given Sunday. These are the NFL games that aren’t being shown on your local TV affiliate stations like CBS or Fox. The service essentially lets football fans watch all the Sunday games during the regular season regardless of where they live.
You’ll still need live TV service via cable, satellite or streaming (or a strong antenna) to get the games airing on your local CBS or Fox station. National games, such as Thursday Night Football on Prime Video, Sunday Night Football on NBC, Monday Night Football on ESPN and ABC and the games that air on NFL Network, Peacock and ESPN Plus are similarly not included with Sunday Ticket.
Beyond having access to every Sunday afternoon game, football fans with NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube will be able to record games to watch later and can stream different games to as many devices as they like when in their homes. Outside the home, you can watch on two additional devices at once (unless you’re on the heavily discounted student plan). YouTube has also added a few new features for this upcoming season, including “multiview,” or an option to put on multiple games at once.
How much does NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube cost?
There are a couple of different ways to purchase NFL Sunday Ticket, as well as a special discount plan for students.
With a subscription to YouTube TV, which currently costs $73 per month, you can add NFL Sunday Ticket for $349 for the season. YouTube is currently offering $50 off until Sept. 19, making the discounted price $299.
If you’re purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket without YouTube TV (via YouTube Primetime Channels), it’ll cost $449 per season. The $50 off discount for NFL Sunday Ticket until Sept. 19 also applies to Primetime Channels, making it currently $399.
Bundling NFL RedZone with NFL Sunday Ticket (with or without YouTube TV) will cost an additional $40 (making the press-time totals $339 and $439, respectively).
YouTube is offering a new monthly payment plan option for NFL Sunday Ticket that works similarly to buy now, pay later services. Instead of paying in one lump sum, you can split the price over four payments. You’ll pay the first 25% when you sign up, then an additional 25% every month for the next three months.
Monthly payment plans for NFL Sunday Ticket aren’t available in seven states: Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Nevada and Tennessee.
Also, as mentioned, YouTube is offering a special discount for college students and letting them purchase NFL Sunday Ticket for $109, or $119 with Red Zone. The student plan has limitations, however. Viewers can stream to only one device at a time, and NFL Sunday Ticket can’t be included in family sharing.
Make sure you’re absolutely certain before subscribing to NFL Sunday Ticket. YouTube doesn’t allow any cancellations or refunds for the service.
What is NFL RedZone?
NFL RedZone takes a hyperkinetic coverage perspective to switch frequently between NFL games in order to show the most exciting plays and scoring opportunities from all the Sunday afternoon games. The term “red zone” refers to the area inside each football team’s 20-yard line, where many scoring plays occur.
NFL RedZone can be bundled with NFL Sunday Ticket on either YouTube platform for an additional $40. Most cable, satellite and streaming providers offer a way to add the channel onto existing packages so you don’t need to have Sunday Ticket to get it.
In fact, if all you want is RedZone then you can get NFL Plus Premium, the league’s subscription service, which includes the RedZone channel and is only $15 per month or $100 for the season (or $80 for the year if you take advantage of the league’s “limited time” promotional offer).
How will NFL Sunday Ticket be different on YouTube?
The core of NFL Sunday Ticket – showing all your out-of-market Sunday regular-season games – remains the same on YouTube as it did on DirecTV, but veteran subscribers to Sunday TIcket will notice some differences.
The most notable loss for the service will be the end of the Game Mix channel, which allowed for viewing eight NFL games simultaneously. As mentioned above, YouTube will instead offer its own multiview service for NFL Sunday Ticket, letting viewers watch up to four games at the same time.
The TeamYouTube X account recently posted that the service will be sharing only “curated multiview streams.” It’s uncertain if or when subscribers will be able to choose which four games they want to watch via multiview.
Most of the other big differences lie in pricing and subscriptions. Of course, you no longer need DirecTV service (or its two-year contract and satellite dish) to purchase NFL Sunday Ticket. On the flip side, there doesn’t appear to be any free trial – DirecTV used to give all subscribers the first week of NFL Sunday Ticket at no cost.
What’s the difference between NFL Sunday Ticket with YouTube TV vs. YouTube Primetime Channels?
Basically, subscribing to NFL Sunday Ticket with YouTube TV ensures you’ll get nearly all your local NFL games plus the other national TV games like the playoffs and Monday Night Football. Subscribing with YouTube Primetime Channels means you’ll need another service for those games.
If you subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket along with YouTubeTV, you’ll get all the Sunday out-of-market regular-season games plus your locally shown NFL games, Monday Night Football on ESPN/ABC and playoff games (except the Peacock-exclusive playoff game during Wild Card weekend, which will be available only on NBC in the cities of the two competing teams).
If you subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket with YouTube Primetime Channels, you’ll get the same access to all the out-of-market Sunday NFL games during the regular season, but you’ll need another live TV service to watch your local games, Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, preseason games and playoff games.
Both options for NFL Sunday Ticket let you bundle NFL RedZone for an additional $40. Neither option includes Thursday night games on Amazon Prime Video, or the Oct. 1 game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons in London, which will be shown exclusively on ESPN Plus. They also don’t include the Peacock-exclusive games that take place on Dec. 23 and during Wild Card weekend on Jan. 13 (the only NBC stations that will broadcast either contest will be in the markets of the competing teams).