Apple is trying to cross the goalline by acquiring the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL Media, and the league’s mobile device live streaming right in a single bundle that would be worth billions, according to a new report from Front Office Sports. The FOS report sheds some light on the details on Apple’s NFL plans:
The NFL is currently fielding offers for three assets: an equity stake in NFL Media, the “NFL Sunday Ticket” package for out-of-market games, and livestreaming games on mobile devices.
Apple wants to bundle them all into one sweeping deal, said sources. That would instantly make the tech giant, which has long avoided sports, one of the NFL’s biggest business partner
If Apple is able to pull off the massive bundle, it would make Apple TV+ the NFL’s premier digital partner. Apple’s tech rival Amazon was the favorite to land a 49% stake in NFL Media, but with Apple having roughly $200 billion of cash to spend, the company is in a prime position to become one of the NFL’s largest partners.
The NFL views Sunday Ticket as a streaming product once the league’s deal with DirecTV ends, and a number of streaming platforms are at play for the rights. With the NFL’s relationship with the satellite provider ending with “semi-certainty,” the league is eyeing a pay bump from the current $1.5 billion per year, with the next deal expected to be between $2 billion to $2.5 billion for the NFL’s out-of-market game package. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said in the past that Sunday Ticket “might” be included in future media deals, which could increase the value.
Apple doesn’t have experience in producing live sports like other streamers, but the company may be able to work past that. While speaking with FOS, sports media consultant Ed Desser stated, “I can definitely see why [Apple] would be attractive for the NFL.” Dresser continued: “You do have to question Apple’s pedigree in sports: It’s not exactly their thing. But that’s the sort of thing you can buy or develop. Even Amazon, the first few years it carried ‘Thursday Night Football,’ used somebody else’s feed, not Amazon employees.”
The NFL declined to comment and Apple did not return multiple messages seeking comment on the report from FOS.
The NFL has taken notice of the digital landscape, with the league’s Chief Media and Business Officer Brian Rolapp stating “streaming is extremely important” for Sunday Ticket and future media deals. The 101-years old league would be able to expand the game even further by increasing the presence of NFL Films on a streaming platform through its NFL Media deal.
The NFL’s plan is to secure a deal soon, with the NFL Scouting Combine underway, cord cutters will not have to wait long before knowing where they can stream games in the near future.