Live stream? More like dead stream.
When the NFL Sunday Ticket rights were up for grabs this offseason, everyone was hoping the league would step into the future and make the game more accessible.
Specifically, the NFL had a great chance to partner with a streaming service to make it easier to watch games on Sundays. For all of its issues, MLB might be leading the charge in accessibility to games with MLB.tv allowing fans to watch out-of-market games with relative ease. NBA League Pass has its problems but the concept of it is something that the NFL absolutely could have stolen.
Instead, the new NFL Sunday Ticket experience has been a total nightmare all season long. YouTube TV was the service that the league partnered with, something that annoyed fans at the time since it might have been the single worst option on the table.
The result has been as bad as everyone expected. Prices were laughed at when the deal was announced, but anyone who is paying over $300 for the ability to watch games on Sunday are being met with constant issues that make enjoying games impossible.
NFL Sunday Ticket issues were driving fans crazy in Week 8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans were squarely in the center of this problem on Sunday. The Bucs played on Thursday, which meant fans were in a position to kick back and casually enjoy some football.
NFL Sunday Ticket and YouTube TV had other ideas, though. Fans started complaining about streams buffering and freezing, and it turned out to be a widespread issue.
It's also not a new issue, which makes the whole transition to YouTube TV even more frustrating.
When the NFL Sunday Ticket rights were going to be up for grabs, the best landing spots seemed to be services like Hulu or Apple -- services people actually enjoy using. Taking a page from NBA League Pass, the NFL could have charged individually for games on Apple and allow fans to purchase out-of-market games as easily and familiarly as buying a movie.
YouTube TV is still a largely unknown service compared to its competitors, and this is exactly the opposite way to make a name for the service. It seems whenever the service gets mentioned it's negative, and drawing the ire of NFL fans is a good way to end up on the wrong side of the streaming wars.