NFL wants Sunday Ticket to land at Apple, report says

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited September 24
Rumors about the fate of NFL's Sunday Ticket are heating up, with a report this week claiming that Apple is the league's front runner to nab the popular streaming service.




Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Athletic on Thursday reported that the NFL prefers Apple score rights to the out-of-market package.

Currently, Sunday Ticket is a DirecTV exclusive, though it is thought that parent company AT&T is loath to renew a highly unprofitable eight-year contract that sees it doling out about $1.5 billion a year to the NFL. The existing arrangement will sunset after the 2022 season and the league is reportedly looking to solidify plans for a new Sunday Ticket home before this season wraps.

Early talks between Apple and the NFL began in July, with other big streaming names like Amazon and ESPN now entering the fray. Up for grabs are broadcast rights for Sunday games, but with the NFL's ask of between $2 billion and $2.5 billion a year, only well-heeled contenders need apply.

Apple has long been rumored to bring some ilk of live sports to its streaming platform, with reports in 2019 claiming the tech giant was negotiating terms for Pac-12 games on Apple TV+. Prior to that, Apple in 2016 supposedly declined to bid for NFL's Thursday night games, a lineup that will land on Amazon Prime next season.

Should Apple bid and win rights to Sunday Ticket, viewers could be given the opportunity to purchase individual games or out-of-market matchups for one team, today's report says. That would deliver more flexible pricing options that are currently missing from DirecTV's product.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    I highly doubt it.  I'm sure AT&T is leaking their name to drive the price up but I don't see how this brings a huge benefit to Apple.  Sure they may add some TV+ customers and it would be really cool if it were included as part of the Apple One bundle but I just can't see them doing it.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Would Apple be allowed to show these NFL games worldwide on Apple TV+ or only within the US? Lots of sports are geo-blocked. Are there any programs right now on Apple TV+ that are geo-blocked?

    I'm starting to suspect that the reason the top programs on Paramount+ dropped by 20% on July 30th, 2021, here in Canada is because Paramount is now geo-blocking many of its best programs (eg, NCIS, FBI Most Wanted, and several others.) I opened a ticket with Paramount+ a month ago and they didn't tell me much other than "licensing changes." I suspect that's their code word for geo-blocking.

    I know about VPNs, using them to cross borders, but I just haven't used them. If Paramount and Apple were upfront about what they are geo-blocking, it would be appreciated.
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Are there any programs right now on Apple TV+ that are geo-blocked?
    I think Ted Lasso is geo-blocked.  I recall reading that Apple does not have worldwide rights (yet).
  • Reply 4 of 16
    danoxdanox Posts: 636member
    Apple get out of the black hole called content, money wasting, where is the 27”-32” M2 iMac, now that would more exciting than See or Foundation…..
    blastdoor
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Are there any programs right now on Apple TV+ that are geo-blocked?
    I think Ted Lasso is geo-blocked.  I recall reading that Apple does not have worldwide rights (yet).
    That would be odd, considering they own and developed the show from scratch. What rights would they be missing. 
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Yes, Tim Cook's Apple would be ideal for the NFL. Steve Jobs' Apple would tell today's NFL to take a hike.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    I highly doubt it.  I'm sure AT&T is leaking their name to drive the price up but I don't see how this brings a huge benefit to Apple.  Sure they may add some TV+ customers and it would be really cool if it were included as part of the Apple One bundle but I just can't see them doing it.
    I’m sure you meant the NFL leaking their name. And you’re almost certainly correct.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    Would Apple be allowed to show these NFL games worldwide on Apple TV+ or only within the US? Lots of sports are geo-blocked. Are there any programs right now on Apple TV+ that are geo-blocked?

    I'm starting to suspect that the reason the top programs on Paramount+ dropped by 20% on July 30th, 2021, here in Canada is because Paramount is now geo-blocking many of its best programs (eg, NCIS, FBI Most Wanted, and several others.) I opened a ticket with Paramount+ a month ago and they didn't tell me much other than "licensing changes." I suspect that's their code word for geo-blocking.

    I know about VPNs, using them to cross borders, but I just haven't used them. If Paramount and Apple were upfront about what they are geo-blocking, it would be appreciated.
    Who knows how the Sunday Ticket deal might change in the future, but under the terms of the current deal the answer is no.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    danox said:
    Apple get out of the black hole called content, money wasting, where is the 27”-32” M2 iMac, now that would more exciting than See or Foundation…..
    An inexplicable waste of money, it is.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Would Apple be allowed to show these NFL games worldwide on Apple TV+ or only within the US? Lots of sports are geo-blocked. Are there any programs right now on Apple TV+ that are geo-blocked?

    I'm starting to suspect that the reason the top programs on Paramount+ dropped by 20% on July 30th, 2021, here in Canada is because Paramount is now geo-blocking many of its best programs (eg, NCIS, FBI Most Wanted, and several others.) I opened a ticket with Paramount+ a month ago and they didn't tell me much other than "licensing changes." I suspect that's their code word for geo-blocking.

    I know about VPNs, using them to cross borders, but I just haven't used them. If Paramount and Apple were upfront about what they are geo-blocking, it would be appreciated.
    Who knows how the Sunday Ticket deal might change in the future, but under the terms of the current deal the answer is no.
    Were you saying "no" to "show worldwide" or to "only in the US"? I can't tell.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    genovelle said:
    Are there any programs right now on Apple TV+ that are geo-blocked?
    I think Ted Lasso is geo-blocked.  I recall reading that Apple does not have worldwide rights (yet).
    That would be odd, considering they own and developed the show from scratch. What rights would they be missing. 
    I may be mistaken on the worldwide rights -- just recall reading they didn't own the whole thing free and clear. I went back and searched for the articles and they refer to "linear rights" which are currently held by Warner Bros. who produces the show.  No idea if NBC has any stake in it since the character came form their commercials -- I don't think they do. 

    there are a couple of articles from other sites with a bit more detail but here is the one from AI:
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/21/09/13/ted-lasso-cast-writers-and-producers-score-big-salary-bumps
    edited September 25
  • Reply 12 of 16
    genovelle said:
    Are there any programs right now on Apple TV+ that are geo-blocked?
    I think Ted Lasso is geo-blocked.  I recall reading that Apple does not have worldwide rights (yet).
    That would be odd, considering they own and developed the show from scratch. What rights would they be missing. 
    The series is co-owned by Warner Bros., who as part of the arrangement hold linear broadcast and merchandising rights. Full details of the contract are obviously confidential, so we don’t know what other restrictions and stipulations might exist. 
    ronn
  • Reply 13 of 16
    danox said:
    Apple get out of the black hole called content, money wasting, where is the 27”-32” M2 iMac, now that would more exciting than See or Foundation…..
    Better to have their own game studio than their own tv studio. At least games are more closely connected to computing.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,771member
    I'm starting to suspect that the reason the top programs on Paramount+ dropped by 20% on July 30th, 2021, here in Canada is because Paramount is now geo-blocking many of its best programs (eg, NCIS, FBI Most Wanted, and several others.) I opened a ticket with Paramount+ a month ago and they didn't tell me much other than "licensing changes." I suspect that's their code word for geo-blocking.
    That's why we dropped Paramount+. 

    I suspect that Apple having NFL Sunday Ticket would bring in a lot of subscribers, at least seasonally. It might be the thing to light a fire under the service.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    I see this as more of a money grab for the NFL. 

    If they were serious, they should have made their own service and then after a few years license it to other sports franchises. 
    Since Directv is out, the NFL could buy out the infrastructure very cheap, but team owners are very stingy when it comes to stuff like this. 

    I think they believe they can start a bidding war between Apple and Amazon. Problem is, those 2 companies aren’t stupid and will have more strings attached than the NFL. 
  • Reply 16 of 16
    I think this is a good deal for Apple as it will bring more people to the service that otherwise would not. Even if it’s seasonal, people would eventually see what else their subscription brings with it and they might stay after the football season. It will be interesting though for restaurants who depend on this to bring in lots of business on Sundays to their establishment, if DirecTV doesn’t renew even at some level. This is assuming that the only exclusivity would be for Streaming and not general Cable or Dish.
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