Apple Has Reportedly Backed Out of NFL Sunday Ticket Talks
For most of 2022, Apple was believed to be the leader to acquire the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, but according to a report by Dylan Byers of Puck News, the tech company has backed out of negotiations.
I’m now told that Apple, once seen as a frontrunner for the rights, has also backed out of those negotiations—not because they can’t afford it, but because they don’t see the logic. So it’s down to Amazon and Google, and there’s certainly a logic there for both companies: Amazon can use it to drive Prime subscriptions; Google can use it to fuel its YouTube TV business.
While Apple may ultimately come back to the negotiating table, as of right now the two sides can’t actually agree on what to include in a deal. Earlier this week, Sportico reported that Apple wanted to include Sunday Ticket as part of their $6.99 per month base subscription, but the NFL’s current deals wouldn’t allow for it.
As was previously reported, there are inherent limitations to carrying Sunday Ticket that Apple could be balking over. Since the package provides broadcasts of games available on local CBS and FOX stations, the networks have a clause in their contracts with the league that requires Sunday Ticket to be priced as a “premium” service, in order to limit its impact on local broadcasts.
Beginning at $293.94 for a season, and going as high as nearly $400, Apple could be concerned that the price tag could prevent customers who are already weary of escalating streaming prices to commit to paying for the package. Expected to fetch between $2 billion and $3 billion per year, it is possible that Apple doesn’t see a profitable path forward at the current prices.
In a recent study by The Streamable, only 26% of NFL fans are willing to pay up to the current $300 base price, but nearly double would sign-up at a lower price.
With Apple out of the conversation for now, eyes turn towards Prime Video, which already carries “Thursday Night Football,” and Google, which reportedly is considering this for YouTube TV. At this point, it’s clear that the decision will push into 2023, but what seemed like a sure thing for most of the year, no longer is.