Apple Reportedly Talking With NFL About Sunday Ticket, NFL Media Stake

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

Apple, the most valuable company in the world, is reportedly looking to make a huge deal with the National Football League, owner of the most powerful programming in television.

The NFL is looking for a home for NFL Sunday Ticket, its subscription service offering out-of-market games. 

It is also looking to sell 49% of NFL Media, which owns the NFL Networks, NFL RedZone and

Apple wants to swallow them both in one bite, according to Front Office Sports.

The Hail Mary of a deal would be a touchdown for Apple’s streaming service Apple TV Plus, which despite a handful of award-winning shows including Ted Lasso, is an also ran in the direct-to-consumer market.

More significantly, Apple could use the NFL to keep its iPhone and other gadgets one play ahead of its competitors.

Apple’s main challenger for the NFL Properties is reportedly Amazon, another big, rich tech company.

Amazon is already in business with the NFL, having acquired exclusive rights to the league’s Thursday Night Football packages. Amazon began promoting Thursday Night Football during the Super Bowl.

Also: DirecTV Mulls 'Co-Exclusive' Arrangement for NFL Sunday Ticket

Sunday Ticket has been with DirecTV for years, but DirecTV was spun off from AT&T and probably doesn’t have the financial firepower to compete with Apple or Amazon. Plus with cord cutting, the NFL has said that it was streaming to be a big part of how Sunday Ticket gets distributed. ■

Jon Lafayette

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.