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Apple Declared the (Latest) Favorite in the ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ Sweepstakes

Promo for 2021 season of NFL Sunday Ticket
(Image credit: DirecTV)

It is Apple and Amazon that is the true "favorite" in the bid to become the next home of NFL Sunday Ticket when the out-of-market games package becomes available after the 2022 pro football season, The Athletic reports.

Two weeks ago, it was reported that Amazon has the inside track to NFL Sunday Ticket, which has resided with DirecTV ever since the live games programming package first launched in the early 1990s. It's widely assumed that DirecTV, which was recently spun off from AT&T, will not renew its license for Sunday Ticket, for which it currently pays around $1.5 billion a season. 

Amazon, after all, just paid $1 billion to secure the rights to the NFL's Thursday Night Football franchise starting next season. The league also works with Amazon Web Services to provide stats, among many other entanglements. 

Citing unnamed sources close to the NFL, however, The Athletic has an allure for league officials in that its a pure-play technology company, marketing a consumer product, the iPhone, that's even bigger in the American consumer consciousness than football. 

Also Read: NFL Plans Monday Night Wild Card Playoff Game

Amazon, according to The Athletic’s narrative, is merely a “retailer.”

“So that diversifies the league — or the league’s always believed in an inclusive diversified kind of network mix,” said former Fox Sports executive turned consultant Patrick Crakes, to the subscription sports news site. “Apple is a different company than Amazon, even though people talk about them in the same breath. They’re very different. So I can see how the league might view that as a great diversification to their portfolio for the next decade.”

It's not the first time Apple's name has come up recently in the NFL Sunday Ticket discussion. In June, another paywalled insider news source, The Information, published a report indicating Apple's desire to pursue a license for the franchise

The Information based this take largely on the fact that Apple poached Amazon’s head of sports content, James DeLorenzo, last year. 

Of course, neither Amazon or Apple — or the NFL, for that matter — are commenting on any of these early reports.