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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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August 21st, 2013
07:29 PM ET

Live-streaming NFL games on YouTube? It could happen.

Most NFL watchers have moved beyond being tired of shelling out cold hard cash for a pair of nose-bleeds and a case of frost-bite. Now, they’re merely weary from forking over money to Direct TV for the satellite provider’s “Sunday Ticket” package, which lets football fanatics watch every game, every Sunday.

And Google is taking notice.

The tech-giant wants to stream NFL games on YouTube and is reportedly in talks with the NFL to buy the rights to its “Sunday Ticket” package, according to the industry blog, “All Things D.” The report says Google CEO Larry Page met with an NFL delegation, including commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s broadcast rights – Direct TV’s exclusive deal with the league expires at the end of the 2014 NFL season – were among the topics discussed.

But even if the NFL’s front office thinks Google can revolutionize how fans watch the game, Deadspin.com Editor Tim Burke predicts the path from small screen to your laptop won’t be seamless.

“The major stumbling block is going to be the NFL franchise owners,” Burke said.

According to Burke, the NFL takes a “1960s television” approach to the media landscape, and an NFL-Google alliance would “shatter the decades long hesitance to get on with modern technology.”

While Burke says part of the owners’ concern stems from abandoning traditional set top boxes, he cited NBC’s successful partnership with YouTube for the 2012 Summer Olympics as an example of how streaming sports could work online. For the Deadspin blogger, it mostly boils down to owners intransigence.

“You’re going to have to convince them that things like protecting the local market doesn’t really work,” Burke said.

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