Google Reportedly in Advanced Talks for 'NFL Sunday Ticket' Rights (Updated)

NFL Sunday Ticket
(Image credit: DirecTV)

Eight months after it reported that Apple had already made a deal to license "NFL Sunday Ticket" and was merely figuring out announcement timing, Puck News said that the tech giant has backed away from the pricey out-of-market games package.

And in the suddenly fast-moving negotiations, The New York Times reported Tuesday that Google has emerged as the latest favorite, with the tech giant said to be willing to pay as much as $2.5 billion to acquire the rights. Google would use the premium out-of-market NFL games package to augment its YouTube TV virtual pay TV service, which has over 5 million subscribers. 

If the well-substantiated $2.5 billion figure holds up, that will be about $1 billion more a season than incumbent "Sunday Ticket" carrier DirecTV is paying right now. 

According to Puck, price wasn't a consideration for Apple and its $3 trillion market capitalization. Rather, the company merely took a sober look at what the rights package will do for its business. 

Apple was reportedly concerned about "NFL Sunday Ticket's" local blackout restrictions and its total lack of international reach. Apple also wants to somehow integrate the games package -- which DirecTV sells for about $300 per season -- into its $6.99-a-month Apple TV Plus subscription, Puck said. 

With Disney and newly restored CEO Bob Iger demurring on "NFL Sunday Ticket" for ESPN, as well, that left Amazon and Google as the sole remaining bidders for the package, which culminates a three-decade relationship with DirecTV upon the conclusion of the current NFL regular season on January 8. 

Amazon already pays the NFL more than $100 million per season for rights to the "Thursday Night Football" franchise. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!