Once Apple exited the talks, things moved very quickly.
Less than a week after a report emerged that Apple, the longstanding frontrunner to become the successor to DirecTV for the Sunday Ticket package, had pulled out of the discussions, Google/YouTube has a deal in place with the league.
The NFL announced on Thursday morning that, starting in 2023, Sunday Ticket will be available only through YouTube. It will be an add-on package for YouTube TV, and a standalone option for YouTube Primetime Channels.
Google, which owns YouTube, reportedly will pay $2.5 billion per year for the rights. The price for consumers will be comparable to the current cost through DirecTV. As CNBC reported in June, the league’s deals with CBS and Fox prevent a dramatic reduction in price.
Apple reportedly wanted to make it cheaper for customers. It will nevertheless be available to anyone who wants it, and it should be a better product that it has been.
So DirecTV has three weekends left, before a relationship that started in 1994 ends. Starting next season, it’s streaming only through a service that started as a way for people to post videos of their cats doing funny things and has become a multi-billion-dollar behemoth.