Apple in July was reportedly in talks with the National Football League for the streaming rights to the National Football League’s “Sunday Ticket” package. Now comes a report suggesting that a deal may have already been sealed.
Matthew Belloni of Puck News has described NFL Sunday Ticket as “Apple’s to lose,” in a report currently making the rounds. Belloni says one of his sources tells him the deal is “actually done” and is being kept quiet at Apple’s request.
My sources say it’s Apple’s to lose, at this point. (One source told me this weekend that the deal is actually done and is being kept quiet at Apple’s request, which I haven’t confirmed and don’t know for a fact; Apple isn’t commenting.) That would make sense: Even after winning top Emmys and the best picture Oscar, C.E.O. Tim Cook has said Apple is merely in its early days of premium video, and nothing is more premium than NFL football. Plus, it would explain Apple’s recent foray into live events and advertising with MLB games.
Of course, any report like this should be taken with a grain of your favorite sodium-free seasoning until we hear an official announcement from Apple and the NFL. While Apple has reportedly been in talks with NFL executives, so have TV networks and other tech firms, like Amazon.
Sunday Ticket streaming rights are currently held by DirecTV, but that deal is up for grabs after the end of the 2022 season, and Apple could score the rights to stream all non-prime-time Sunday NFL games, allowing out-of-market fans to view the games on Apple TV+.
DirecTV currently pays somewhere around $1.5 billion to broadcast the Sunday Ticket games. The NFL, of course, is looking to score a larger amount for any new deal, with many observers expecting to see the rights going for as much as $2.5 billion.
NFL Sunday Ticket allows out-of-market fans will be able to view non-prime-time games from all 32 NFL teams on Apple TV+. If Apple does score the rights to Sunday Ticket, it will join Apple TV+’s Friday Night Baseball, which shows a doubleheader of Major League Baseball games each Friday evening.