The streaming wars take no days off.
Apple has held talks with the NFL about obtaining rights to stream the league’s Sunday Ticket package of games on Apple TV+, according to The Information.
It appears that Disney is also interested in buying the rights for ESPN.
AT&T-owned DirecTV currently pays $1.5 billion each year to broadcast Sunday Ticket, though that deal expires after the 2022 season.
The NFL arrangement has been quite costly for DirecTV. In February, AT&T and private equity titan TPG created a $16.25 billion spin-off for DirecTV and AT&T’s U.S. video assets. In the announcement, AT&T agreed to cover “up to $2.5 billion” in Sunday Ticket net losses.
A MoffettNathanson study showed that only 10% to 11% of households used Apple TV+ to stream content in Q4 2020, compared to 75% for Netflix. Apple could follow other tech giants in using sports to lure new subscribers.
- Last year, the company hired James DeLorenzo from Amazon to run Apple TV+’s sports division. He had been head of sports for Amazon Video.
- Apple met with the Pac-12 conference about livestreaming college sports in 2019.
Amazon, also cited as a potential bidder for NFL Sunday Ticket, has exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” on a $1 billion-per-year deal.
Google-owned YouTube packages the MLB Network, NBA TV, ESPN, NBC Sports, and other sports channels into its paid YouTube TV service.