Apple has reportedly joined the growing group of broadcast and streaming companies looking to poach NFL Sunday Ticket when DirecTV’s contract with the pro football league runs out after the 2022 season.
According to The Information, Apple is in “early talks” with the NFL about seizing the out-of-market regular season games package and putting it on Apple TV Plus.
AT&T is in the process of spinning off DirecTV in a deal that will give private equity firm TPG 30% ownership of the satellite TV company. Neither AT&T or TPG have publicly forsaken the relationship with NFL Sunday Ticket, which provides a TV feed of every regular season game, save only for those being played in the subscriber’s home town. DirecTV has licensed NFL Sunday Ticket since its inception in 1994 and currently pays around $1.5 million a season to do so.
Still, other suitors are lining up—notably Amazon and The Walt Disney Company—to license the games package. This will add more TV money to the NFL’s coffers, following its flurry of 10-year deals in March that added up to a whopping $113 million.
Based on Apple’s previous reluctance to sign huge program licensing deals for its streaming service—the company’s decision to pass on buying MGM comes to mind here—it would be easy to disregard Apple’s inclusion in the Sunday Ticket discussion.
However, as The Information noted, Apple becomes a more relevant contender when you consider that it poached Amazon’s head of sports content, James DeLorenzo, last year.
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