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Disney Confirms Bid for NFL Sunday Ticket - Here’s What That Could Mean for ESPN+

Jeff Kotuby

Could Disney be on the verge of a monumental acquisition for ESPN+?

During an interview with CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said his company will bid on the rights to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket, its out-of-market broadcasting service that is currently under the DIRECTV banner.

Sunday Ticket has been the subject of speculation over the past few years, especially as streaming entertainment, especially sports, has come into the forefront. If Disney could add live NFL games to ESPN+, which is already the home of NHL hockey, the UFC, and many PGA Tour events, it could propel the service from a “nice to have supplemental service” to a bonafide must-have for any sports fan.

It is likely that the addition of NFL Sunday Ticket would be an add-on, like a UFC PPV fight, rather than included like out-of-market NHL games.

To win the bid, though, Disney will have plenty of competition. Just this year alone, we’ve seen multiple media companies linked to Sunday Ticket, including Amazon, Warner Bros. Discovery, Apple, and even the incumbent, DIRECTV, maintaining rights (at least for satellite subscribers).

While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said previously that the league’s ongoing media sale, which includes NFL RedZone, NFL Network, and NFL.com, is “still months away,” it’s now technically “months away” from December 2021. A deal could soon be on the horizon.

If you noticed that Sunday Ticket was not a part of that list, you’d be right, but Goodell said in the same interview that while the digital media components may not be included together, there’s a chance they could all go at once, too. If anyone could make the money work to acquire all of the NFL’s digital media properties, it’s Disney, but Amazon will certainly want a go at it. The fight for Sunday Ticket, and the NFL’s digital properties as a whole, may turn into a battle between two NFL rightsholders.

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NFL Sunday Ticket

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.

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