Disney in 'Conversations' About NFL Sunday Ticket

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

The Walt Disney Co., looking to beef up its ESPN Plus streaming service, is talking to the National Football League about its Sunday Ticket out-of-market game package, now with DirecTV.

On Disney’s earnings call Thursday, CEO Bob Chapek said Disney was considering and “in conversations about” acquiring rights to Sunday Ticket.

Also Read: Major League Baseball's Disney Deal Includes Streaming

“Obviously it’s an attractive property, but we’ll only do it, just like our other rights, if it is something that adds shareholder value.”

Disney is a long-time rights holder with the National Basketball Association. It recently signed a new deal to add National Hockey League games and renewed its agreement with the NFL. On the earnings call, Chapek announced a new deal with Major League Baseball and Spain’s La Liga soccer league. 

Also Read: Streamers Are Key to NHL Return to Disney

“Live sports are a very important component of our content business. And even amidst the challenges of the past year, we have continued to build our unrivalled portfolio in a disciplined way,” Chapek said.

“While our overall strategy is still very supportive of our linear business, given the important economic value for the company, we are also building out our ESPN Plus direct-to-consumer offering, he said. “And with every deal we make we are considering both the linear and DTC components.”

On the earnings call, one analyst asked Chapek if Disney had an appetite for more sports rights.

“We have a full house here,” Chapek said. “In terms of our appetite for going further, in terms of what’s really left, there’s not much.”

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.