How the NFL is Taking Advantage of Out-of-Market Fans

In a day and age where there are multiple ways to access just about any show or live event, the NFL has made sure that this is not the case for its product. If you happen to be a fan of an out-of-market NFL team, you are left with very few options to watch your team play. The NFL money making machine has found yet another way to capitalize on its product.

In the 2022/2023 NFL season an average of 16.7 million people viewed each NFL regular season game.[1] The three teams with the most viewers were the Detroit Lions, the New York Giants, and the Dallas Cowboys.[2] However, if you are a fan of a team that is not located near you, you may struggle to watch your team play on Sundays. Fans of out-of-market teams are at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to watching their favorite football team play, because local channels to do not cover out-of-market games.

This predicament leaves fans with a decision to make. They can either choose to just not watch the game or they will be forced to pay for either, or both, of the viewing options the NFL provides. The NFL has two (2) platforms in which fans can watch any NFL football game. The first one is called NFL RedZone, which costs approximately $80.00 for the year.[3] It shows every NFL game when it gets into the Red Zone. This means that you can watch your favorite team play, but only bits and pieces when your team, or the team they are playing, are about to score. RedZone is ideal for the fantasy football guru who wants to keep track of all the games and all the different players. However, RedZone is not ideal for the fan who wants to watch their team play from start to finish.

This is where the NFL has taken advantage of fans, because the next option an out-of-market fan has is to pay $400.00 for NFL Sunday Ticket.[4] Diehard fans who wish to enjoy their out-of-market team are forced to purchase NFL Sunday Ticket. NFL Sunday Ticket allows fans to watch any and every NFL football game. This means that fans have full access to their team’s games, and every other teams’ games. Fans are forced to pay to have access to all teams when in reality all they care about is their team.   

Why does the NFL limit their product so much, you may ask? Here’s why, YouTube is paying $2 billion per season to the NFL for the next seven years, including this year, to be the carrier of NFL Sunday Ticket.[5] The NFL knows that consumers cannot get enough of its product and have capitalized on the ability to sell the rights of its product.

Out-of-market fans aren’t the only ones forced to buy NFL Sunday Ticket to watch their favorite team play on Sunday’s. Restaurants and bars, such as Buffalo Wild Wings, rely on Sunday NFL Ticket to bring in customers. After losing the carrier rights to NFL Sunday Ticket after 28 years to YouTube, DirectTV struck a deal to sell NFL Sunday Ticket to commercial establishments.[6]

Again, the NFL is able to capitalize off of the consumers craving for its product. American fans, and now international fans as well, cannot seem to get enough. With no end in sight, it is apparent that the NFL will continue to take advantage of its product and force fans to purchase its highly priced viewing service. One can only hope that the NFL will take its fans into consideration, but we all know that with the NFL, there is no slowing down.

[1] NFL average TV viewership per game 2023 | Statista

[2] NFL Ratings Report Card: CBS, Fox, NBC Deliveries Continue to Climb –

[3] How to watch NFL RedZone: YouTube TV, Fubo, Hulu carry stream (

[4] NFL Sunday Ticket: YouTube offers monthly payments, student rate (

[5] YouTube TV ready for its first season as the carrier of NFL Sunday Ticket package | AP News

[6] DirecTV to Sell NFL Sunday Ticket to Bars, Restaurants Under New Deal – Variety

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