Apple, Amazon Considered Top Candidates to Land NFL Sunday Ticket
One of the biggest unanswered questions in the worlds of both streaming and sports is where the NFL Sunday Ticket package will land when its current contract with DIRECTV expires following the 2022-23 season. The package, which allows subscribers to watch all out-of-market NFL games, has been a hot commodity with nearly every major digital broadcaster coming to the table in an effort to win the rights.
A report from Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand indicates that Apple and Amazon are the most likely landing spots for the package, despite interest from numerous other players.
The current contract that the NFL has with DIRECTV for Sunday Ticket comes with a price tag of $1.5 billion per year, but SBJ’s sources indicate that the total for any new deal would likely be north of $2 billion.
In November, reports circulated that Amazon was looking to purchase a stake in NFL Network with hopes of a tie-in to Sunday Ticket. Earlier this month, Disney confirmed that it was also bidding on the package. If Disney were to end up with the rights, it would include the Sunday Ticket on its ESPN+ service, giving a major bump to the platform.
While Amazon and Disney’s inclusion in negotiations is to be expected, as both companies already air NFL games, Apple’s addition to the mix marks a new venture into live sports for the broadcaster. As Apple TV+ continues to build out its library of original scripted content, live sports rights could dramatically increase the visibility and attractiveness of the platform for many consumers.
Apple is also expected to add mid-week Major League Baseball games in the near future as well. However, while consumers might be looking forward to having the additional live sports content on their favorite streamers, it will not come without an additional cost.
Two of the NFL’s traditional broadcast partners, CBS and Fox, have it written into their existing contracts that the Sunday Ticket can only be offered to consumers at a premium price; meaning that it would need to be an add-on to an existing AppleTV+ or Amazon Prime Video subscription, should either of those companies land the rights.
While Disney is not considered a front-runner at this time, they are still in negotiations with the NFL, but what they are currently willing to pay for the package is considered “well below the amount Apple and Amazon have discussed,” according to Ourand.
Current rights holder DIRECTV is also negotiating with the league but exclusively for the commercial rights to broadcast the games at restaurants and bars. Unless something dramatically changes, that would mean that the only way to get the NFL Sunday Ticket at home, beginning in the fall of 2023, would be through a streaming service, with no option to watch on cable or satellite.
NFL Sunday Ticket is a subscription video streaming service that allows football fans to watch every live out-of-market NFL game on Sunday afternoons. It is included free for new DirecTV subscribers (allowing streaming through the NFL Sunday Ticket App), or it can be purchased as a standalone streaming product if you live in a dorm or apartment without access to the satellite version of NFL Sunday Ticket.
Unlike NFL RedZone, which bounces from game to game, Sunday Ticket is superior for fans who want to see every play of their favorite teams, even if they don’t live where the games are locally televised.
Sunday Ticket offers three plans: the Student Plan for $99.96 / year, the To Go Plan for $293.96 / year, and the Max Plan for $395.99 / year.