With the day after Christmas game set to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, there’s renewed talk of the NFL leaning more into streaming for future seasons. Amazon is in its fourth year of an agreement with the NFL to stream games and is one of the companies reportedly interested in NFL Sunday Ticket rights when the AT&T agreement is up in 2022.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that in addition to Amazon, Disney-owned ESPN+, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, and sports streaming service DAZN are all interested in getting rights to Sunday Ticket. Ourand says that Sunday Ticket could go digital when the deal that brought Sunday Ticket to DirecTV ends.
Back in February, we reported that AT&T was no longer interested in owning exclusive rights to the package. At $1.5 billion per year, the cost had likely gotten too high for the company that has been actively working to reduce debt while focusing on HBO Max and AT&T TV.
At that time, Amazon, Apple, and Google were a few of the top names showing an interest in rights to NFL games. Sources said that the NFL likely wouldn’t sell exclusive rights to a streaming service, but noted the importance of making streaming part of the strategy. “We are made for broadcast TV, but we are open to streaming,” one NFL power-broker told Peter King of NBC Sports.
Now, as we get closer to the time when rights negotiation talks will take place, it looks like digital is becoming a more prominent part of the plan. “Sources expect the Sunday Ticket to be primarily a digital service in its next deal,” says Ourand.
As we wrote in February, it’s possible, and now even more likely, that the NFL will opt to divide Sunday Ticket rights between a streaming service and a traditional broadcaster, or that non-exclusive rights could be sold to several streaming services at a lower price after the 2021 season.