YouTube is offering NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions for $449 for the coming season, or $489 if you also want NFL RedZone. YouTube TV subscribers will get a discount: $349 for the season or $389 with NFL RedZone–on top of the $73-per-month subscription for YouTube TV itself.
Because Sunday Ticket only covers out-of-market games, YouTube’s bifurcated packages are likely to cause some confusion and heartache once football season starts, so you should pay close attention to what you’re paying for.
First, let’s clarify the difference between YouTube TV and plain old YouTube:
YouTube is the service best-known for its millions of free, ad-supported videos. Among other things, it also offers a marketplace called “Primetime Channels” for subscription video services, one of which will be NFL Sunday Ticket.
DirecTV will no longer sell Sunday Ticket in 2023, so these will be your only options for out-of-market NFL games for the next seven years. With that in mind, YouTube’s regular pricing for Sunday Ticket is as follows:
YouTube Primetime Channels: $449 for the season, or $489 with NFL RedZone.
YouTube TV: $349 for the season, or $389 with NFL RedZone; plus, $73 per month for YouTube TV itself.
If you go with YouTube Primetime Channels, Sunday Ticket will auto-renew at the regular price unless you cancel beforehand. (The best time to do so is right after signing up.)
In both cases, the core NFL Sunday Ticket offering is the same: You’ll get live access to out-of-market games, along with a “multiview” feature for watching up to four games at a time. The difference with YouTube TV is that you’ll also get a full pay TV package to go with it.
Meanwhile, the NFL RedZone add-on will provide whiparound coverage of early and late afternoon games. YouTube TV’s $11-per-month Sports Plus add-on also offers NFL RedZone without the need for Sunday Ticket, but no standalone RedZone option exists for YouTube Primetime Channels subscribers.
Here’s a comparison chart to sum up YouTube’s Sunday Ticket options:
Once more, with feeling: NFL Sunday Ticket does not include local or nationally broadcast NFL games. With the NFL RedZone add-on, you might occasionally see local action through that channel’s whiparound coverage. Coverage is otherwise limited to out-of-market games on Sunday afternoons only.
Jared Newman / Foundry
That means if you subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket through regular YouTube, you’ll need to look elsewhere for local games, Sunday Night Football on NBC, Monday Night Football on ESPN, Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, and the entirety of the NFL playoffs. If your TV has an onboard tuner, you might consider buying an over-the-air antenna to bring in local TV broadcasts. Take a look at TechHive’s coverage of the best TV antennas.
But by now, you should see the potential for chaos: With YouTube taking pre-orders, some folks will sign up for NFL Sunday Ticket on a standalone basis only to realize come football season that it doesn’t entitle them to complete NFL coverage.
Conversely, YouTube TV’s version of NFL Sunday Ticket requires an active YouTube TV subscription to access. If you sign up this way, and then decide to try a different live TV service—or cancel your TV bundle entirely—you’ll lose access to the NFL Sunday Ticket subscription you already paid for. At that point, YouTube says you’ll need to contact customer service to switch over to the more expensive standalone package.
Jared Newman / Foundry
Hence the need for foresight when choosing one of these plans. Bundling NFL Sunday Ticket with YouTube TV makes sense for those who are committed to the latter for at least the next nine months. If you want flexibility, it’ll cost you an extra $100.
Whether it’ll pay off for Google is another matter. With NFL Sunday Ticket, Google is betting it can use bundle discounts to prop up its pay TV package. Even so, the trend in cord-cutting is away from these big bundles and toward cheaper streaming options.
This story has been updated with additional information from YouTube, including DVR details and the ability to switch from YouTube TV to YouTube packages by contacting customer service.
Editors’ note: This story was updated August 3, 2023 to add information about Verizon’s “free” NFL Sunday Ticket offer and to remove information about YouTube’s discount offer for early subscribers, which has expired.