Dylan Byers: Apple is set to score NFL Sunday Ticket

"I have been given ample reason to believe that Apple is the most likely winner of the sweepstakes."

From Byers' "Is Apple’s Eddy Cue About to Get NFL’s Sunday Ticket?" posted Wednesday on Puck:

Heading into Sun Valley, the topic du jour among sports-curious media executives and media-curious sports executives was the fate of NFL’s Sunday Ticket, the sports package that offers access to out-of-market football games and has become a staple in sports bars and DirecTV households, alike. Since the NFL recently signed ten-year deals with its existing media partners—deals that will keep most NFL games on linear channels—the Ticket is now the league’s one remaining asset on the table.

Recent reports have suggested that the NFL is seeking at least $2 billion a year for the Ticket, as well as a stake in NFL Media, which includes NFL Channel and Redzone. The reports also note, correctly, that Disney, Amazon and Apple have all placed bids. And in an interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin at Sun Valley, Commissioner Goodell said the Ticket would likely be “moving to a streaming service.”

As I learned at Sun Valley, and in subsequent conversations this week with sources close to the talks, the deal will likely come in significantly higher than $2 billion a year—some sources with insight into the talks believe it could come in close to $3 billion. This has effectively removed the cautious, ever-disciplined Disney from consideration, since its own bid came in under $2 billion. (Disney declined to comment.) Existing media partners, like Fox, Comcast and CBS, are also not in contention, I’m told. The race for the Ticket has therefore come down to Apple and Amazon, and while nothing has been signed or agreed to, I have been given ample reason to believe that Apple is the most likely winner of the sweepstakes—and not merely because I was told that Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue met with Goodell in Sun Valley. (Everyone meets with everyone in Sun Valley.)

There’s an obvious logic to selling Apple the rights, which my Puck partner Matt Belloni first noted weeks back. The NFL would have a new (and very powerful) global media partner to promote the game. It would also be a potential threshold deal, allowing Apple to become a more likely potential bidder for future rights.

My take: Byers, whom I know best from CNN's Reliable Sources, is a media scoop machine. I wish him luck at Puck.

12 Comments

  1. Jeff Galanti said:
    Sunday Ticket coming to Apple about the same time as an AR product seems like a match made in heaven. They will do some really cool things that we can’t even imagine.

    5
    July 14, 2022
  2. Fred Stein said:
    If Apple plans to give us 3D viewing devices, 3D sports viewing will be the killer App.

    Channeling Shark Tank, “For that reason, I’m in.”

    6
    July 14, 2022
  3. Other viewers in the household will explore Apple TV+ programs after the game is over. If Apple continues to obtain interesting shows and win Emmys this will only shore up the steaming platform and easily double the subscriber base. It also builds a more positive image of the brand some still attempt to disparage, mostly due to pricing and our lovely walled garden.

    6
    July 14, 2022
    • Steven Philips said:
      I thought this was a separate subscription. Just through Apple TV. Having a TV+ subscription wasn’t necessary. Am I wrong?

      0
      July 14, 2022
    • Correction: streaming platform, although it is not hard to imagine Apple TV+ service steaming in the future!

      0
      July 14, 2022
  4. Doug Montgomery said:
    Danger here is that all streaming is delayed to build a buffer for a smoother presentation. Even the processing of Over The Air HD TV feeds is about :07 delayed. The In-game sports betting market (now legal in half the states) is going to be negatively impacted by the 30-40 second delay caused by streaming (Regardless if it is Apple or Amazon with the TV rights) – Bettors will have to wait for a commercial or injury clock stoppage for the feed to catch up before placing a bet. Sports bettors will scream that Apple TV sucks as result. They’ll blame the streaming box as opposed to the underlying technology.

    0
    July 14, 2022
  5. David Emery said:
    Meh… If it’s not Steelers, I’m not interested. 🙂

    0
    July 14, 2022
  6. Gregg Thurman said:
    I stopped watching NFL when Georgia Frontierre sold majority control of the Rams and the team was moved to St Louis.

    0
    July 14, 2022
  7. Troy Thoman said:
    There is nothing in this story that confirms anything for me. “Two guys were talking to another guy therefore they made the deal”

    1
    July 15, 2022

Leave a Reply