Who Will Get the Streaming Rights to NFL Sunday Ticket?
While broadcast and streaming rights for the NFL were decided in March 2021, with the existing players — CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC/ESPN, and Amazon — coming out at the head of the class, the one element that was not locked down was rights to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package.
NFL Sunday Ticket is a package hosted by DirecTV that allows viewers to watch out-of-market NFL games if they are not carried over broadcast stations in their home market during non-prime-time. Games that are carried on local stations are blacked out for Sunday Ticket viewers.
The current DirecTV contract for NFL Sunday Ticket — which carries two separate elements, one for satellite TV viewers and one for viewers who are streaming content — expires in 2022.
ESPN+ — which has seen continued growth over the past several years — has shown the capacity to stream multiple events from around the world simultaneously. In addition to its already strong user base, ESPN+ has begun to grown additional users through packaged bundling with Hulu and Disney+.
Additional speculation suggests that Amazon Prime Video — which already has obtained exclusive rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package beginning in 2022 — may be the place where Sunday Ticket lands.
Prime Video already has rights to content from Major League Baseball and the NBA, carrying those leagues’ Extra Innings and League Pass products, respectively. Prime Video hosts additional live sporting events, including AVP Tour volleyball, PGA Tour golf, and through channel relationships with Paramount+, access to soccer events, including the UEFA Champions League.
Industry analysts, according to Sports Illustrated, say they anticipate that DirecTV will retain satellite rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.
One element of the Sunday Ticket package that has not mentioned is the NFL RedZone Channel — which offers a hosted live look-in on games in progress.
Currently, there are two versions of the RedZone Channel: One provided by NFL Network and hosted by Scott Hanson. This version is made available on most streaming platforms. A second version is tied to the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket package and hosted by Andrew Siciliano. This version is exclusive to DirecTV.
It is anticipated that the rights to the RedZone Channel would continue along with Sunday Ticket.
No matter where the rights fall, history suggests viewers will follow, as live sports are one of the few events guaranteed to pull an audience in this fragmented media landscape.
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