The Incremental Benefits of Sports Programming

Last week we released Antenna’s Q4 State of Subscriptions Report focused on Sports and shared a few insights around the size, scale, and loyalty of streaming sports audiences. As we continue to look at sports streaming, we wanted to dig into the incremental benefits of sports programming to media partners. 

In the 1990s, Fox famously built significant value around NFL rights, and streamers are drawing from their playbook. Take for instance, Google, and its elegant integration of Sunday Ticket into its YouTube TV vMVPD product, offering Sunday Ticket at a discounted price to YouTube TV subscribers.

Through the end of September, Antenna data indicates that 62% of NFL Sunday Ticket sign-ups have come via YouTube TV subscribers. This is an impressive volume of NFL Sunday Ticket transactions, given that Antenna estimates that YouTube TV has a total of 7.3M Subscribers. This means that approximately 11% of YouTube TV subscribers have access to NFL Sunday Ticket. 

Of those purchases, 69% were made by existing YouTube TV subscribers, while the remaining 31% were made by individuals who signed up for YouTube TV when they signed up for NFL Sunday Ticket. This also means that NFL Sunday Ticket has helped drive around 250k incremental subscriptions to YouTube TV through September. Given that YouTube TV pricing starts at $72.99 per month, these new Subscribers are driving substantial additional revenue.

NFL Sunday Ticket is available to non-YouTube TV subscribers via YouTube Primetime Channels (without the YouTube TV discount), the company’s new subscription channels ecosystem akin to Amazon Channels or premium subscriptions via The Roku Channel.

Antenna finds that 38% of Sunday Ticket sign-ups were made through YouTube Primetime Channels.

The Sign-ups that come through Primetime Channels could have significant additional value to Google in the long run. Launching a brand-new subscription distribution ecosystem is a challenging proposition, and the fact that Primetime Channels has exclusive distribution of a high-profile service like NFL Sunday Ticket will raise consumer awareness, driving many to transact in that environment for the first time.

Antenna measures 15 services being distributed via the YouTube Primetime Channels ecosystem. Since November 2022, Antenna has observed a total of 1.3M Sign-ups across Primetime Channels. NFL Sunday Ticket has generated 35% of the total Sign-ups, with the other 14 services that Antenna measures splitting the remaining 65%. In September, Primetime Channels had more than three times the volume of Sign-ups than in any month before NFL Sunday Ticket launched, and Sunday Ticket accounted for 80% of those Sign-ups.

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Brendan Brady is a Content Strategy Associate at Antenna, a measurement and analytics company providing insight into purchase behavior and subscription metrics across the new media landscape.