Apple in early talks to broadcast NFL Sunday Ticket games

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Apple executives have had preliminary discussions with NFL management over acquiring the rights to the league’s Sunday Ticket package for Apple TV +, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

The tech giant is joining a number of other tech and media companies seeking rights to the Sunday Ticket, which gives subscribers access to all NFL games outside of their local television markets. Amazon and Disney’s ESPN are also suing the rights, sources from both companies said. People who spoke to NBC News did so on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing negotiations.

While talks are ongoing and in their early stages, a change in ownership of the NFL Sunday Ticket package would mark a seismic shift at a time when many large tech and media companies are vying for streaming subscribers and spending heavily on original content. .

The rights for the ticket are currently held by DirecTV, which pays out approximately $ 1.5 billion per year. This deal is expected to expire after the 2022 season. News of Apple’s interest was first reported by The Information.

Discussions between Apple and the NFL have been going on for months and continued this week at the Allen & Company conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior Vice President Eddy Cue attend the conference, as do NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft, chairman of the NFL Ownership Group Media Committee and owner of the New England Patriots.

Apple has had an eye on sports rights for some time. Last June, he hired Jim DeLorenzo, previously head of sports at Amazon Video, to pursue rights opportunities.

The battle for rights highlights the overwhelming power of live sports, and football in particular. NFL games are by far the top-rated shows on television each year, and companies such as Amazon and ViacomCBS have viewed these rights as essential for generating subscriptions to their streaming sites.

Earlier this year, the NFL finalized media deals for the next decade, including one that will make Amazon Prime Video the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football. The remaining deals will keep the vast majority of NFL games on the familiar network and cable TV channels, but with more scope to expand access to streaming games.

“Streaming is truly the future,” Kraft said on a conference call with reporters at the time of the announcement. This “new hybrid of traditional viewing and streaming options … will help viewers move into that future.”


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