A number of reports recently have indicated that Apple is a “front-runner” in the battle of rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package. This would bring out-of-market NFL games to Apple TV+, and a new report now suggests a deal between Apple and the NFL could already be wrapped.
Notably, this comes after Apple has successfully taken on live sports with Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+, which started earlier this month.
As we’ve detailed before, NFL Sunday Ticket is an out-of-market sports package that broadcasts regular season NFL games every week. The rights are currently held by DirecTV, which sells packages ranging from $290 to $400 per season. DirecTV’s rights to Sunday Ticket, however, run out at the end of the 2022-2023 NFL season, and the company is not expected to renew the deal.
DirecTV reportedly paid the NFL an average of $1.5 billion per year for the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. The package largely served as a “loss leader” for DirecTV, meaning that DirecTV used it as a vehicle to drive its overall subscriber numbers.
Back in February, a report indicated that Apple and Amazon were “front-runners” for acquiring the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket beginning with the 2023 season. A deal between the NFL and a streamer such as Apple TV+ or Amazon is expected to be worth more than $2 billion per year.
A new report from Puck News indicates that NFL Sunday Ticket is “Apple’s to lose.” In fact, Puck’s Matthew Belloni says that one source has already told them the “deal is actually done and is being kept quiet at Apple’s request.”
As spotted by Seeking Alpha first:
Now Puck Editor Matthew Belloni says his 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.)”
While this isn’t confirmed just yet, it does seem that Apple has big ambitions for bringing live sports to Apple TV+. Just this month, the company officially teamed up with MLB to bring Friday Night Baseball exclusively to Apple TV+.
A deal with the NFL for Sunday Ticket, however, would be a much bigger commitment than Apple’s deal with Major League Baseball. Apple is reportedly paying around $85 million annually for Friday Night Baseball on TV+, a far cry from the purported $2.5 billion per year it would pay for Sunday Ticket.
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