NFL Sunday Ticket may have finally found its new streaming home with Apple, according to a Q&A article for Puck News featuring the entertainment outlet’s founding partner Matthew Belloni. Belloni was asked who he thinks will acquire the league’s out-of-market game package, and he said the following:
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.)
It’s worth mentioning that the report hasn’t been confirmed by others in sports media, and that we’ve heard similar rumors about other streaming services. However, if Belloni’s sources are correct, then acquiring Sunday Ticket would be Apple’s biggest move since entering the world of sports. The tech giant has already acquired rights to MLB games and began streaming Friday Night Baseball earlier this year. It has been reported that Apple is looking to spend billions on live sports, and Sunday Ticket is expected to cost around 2.5 billion per, which would be double what DIRECTV currently pays.
Apple has been long rumored to be a favorite to get rights to Sunday Ticket, and would be interested in bundling it with NFL Media, and live game streaming; however, several “influential owners” have pushed back on selling a stake in NFL Media.
The league is focused on offering more direct-to-consumer options and considers streaming to be “extremely important” in future media deals and Sunday Ticket, which makes a potential Apple deal mutually beneficial. Apple will be able to expand its sports offerings on Apple TV+ and the NFL can get games in the hands of more fans due to Apple’s devices and infrastructure.
The league’s own direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service NFL+ is rumored to be in the works. The service was discussed at the 2022 NFL Owners Meeting back in March, although nothing has been finalized, the service was presented to be $5 per month, and will feature games, radio, podcasts, and team content, but Belloni thinks this could hurt Sunday Ticket, stating the following:
That’s smart, but it also would take some of the value out of Sunday Ticket, catering to middle-tier fans who want more than the local broadcasts but don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for everything.
Right now, fans can watch Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+ for free, but it remains to be seen how the streamer would handle a Sunday Ticket package, or how much it would cost.