Sunday December 3, 2023

Apple Interested In NFL Sunday Ticket Rights

  • Apple is interested in acquiring the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.
  • Disney is also looking at the out-of-market games property.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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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.

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