Amazon, Apple and The Walt Disney Co. are the final bidders for the NFL Sunday Ticket package, according to reports.
The league is seeking $2.5 billion to $3 billion for the package of out-of-market pro football games, according to Front Office Sports.
It is unclear whether any of the bidders are willing to pay that amount, which has led to a delay in the NFL awarding the package. Also complicating the issue is the league is looking to sell a stake in NFL Media, which includes NFL Network, NFL RedZone and NFL.com.
Two of the bidders, Disney, which has ESPN’s Monday Night Football, and Amazon, which this year starts a 10-year run as the exclusive national home of Thursday Night Football, are already paying $1 billion or more to the NFL.
DirecTV has had the rights to Sunday Ticket and paid $1.5 billion annually, drawing about 2 million subscribers each year. DirecTV required consumers to subscribe to DirecTV’s pay TV service in order to also subscribe to Sunday Ticket. That requirement began to break down in recent years, with some viewers in some ZIP codes able to order a streaming version of the package. In the new deal, no other subscription will be required to get Sunday Ticket, according to CNBC.
DirecTV might try to continue to maintain its Sunday Ticket subs as a subcontractor to whatever company wins the rights. It is not clear whether any of the current bidders for the package would be interested in that arrangement, CNBC said.
Also in the air is the commercial Sunday Ticket product, which DirecTV has sold to bars and restaurants.
Should the NFL not get what it considers a satisfactory bid, the league could also opt to put the out-of-market game on its own streaming service, called NFL Plus, which is expected to launch later this year. ■
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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