The NFL package offered by DirecTV is being nixed and the company is surrendering its streaming rights following the football season in 2022. Apple has been in discussions with the NFL to get hold of the Sunday Ticket rights.
The talks with the NFL follow Apple’s hiring last year of Amazon executive James DeLorenzo to lead sports for Apple TV+. DeLorenzo was responsible for working out a deal to grant Amazon streaming rights to some live NFL football games.
DirecTV reportedly shells out some $1.5 billion a year for Sunday Ticket rights. It is anticipated that the NFL will charge more than that for the next buyer looking for streaming rights. Holding on to the rights is said to cost DirecTV as much as $2.5 billion.
If Apple does get the rights to the Sunday Ticket, it would expand the audience for Apple TV+ and also would be a complement to NFL games on legacy television networks as well as to the games shown on Amazon.
Sunday Ticket streams NFL games that are not typically available on local broadcast television channels. The service appeals to fans living or working outside of their favorite team’s distribution. It also is an attractive service to bars and restaurants catering to football fans loyal to games outside of their region.
The NFL teamed with Goldman Sachs last month to discover additional partnerships to bring in streaming revenue, NFL Chief Media and Business Officer Brian Rolapp said in a letter to league presidents and executives last month. He indicated that he felt that Goldman Sachs would be able to help find “direct-to-consumer opportunities” as well as assist with international expansion.
Amazon closed a 10-year deal with the NFL in March to stream Thursday night NFL games, a move that is said to cost the eCommerce and cloud storage giant about $1 billion annually. The collaboration is the largest sports deal negotiated with a streaming service so far.