Last week, we discussed the NFL moving on from DirecTV for its Sunday Ticket package, opting to move to a streaming service like the rest of the television world. Now, we have an indication of where the league could be headed. Apple TV seems to be the league’s likely choice. According to Pucks’ Dylan Byers, it will come at an enormous price tag. According to Byers’ article via Pro Football Talk, Apple could pay as much as $3 billion per year for streaming rights.
Sunday Ticket is the most popular (legal) avenue for out-of-market fans to watch games. Though interest has declined over the years, the package is still well sought after by the major media companies.
Apple’s purchase of Sunday Ticket isn’t guaranteed, but appears to be the frontrunner. The Puck article also names Disney/ESPN and Amazon as “finalists” for the league’s rights.
The NFL will end a long relationship with DirecTV in the fall, the final season the company will host Sunday Ticket. Following the model of most other companies, the league is moving digital to ever-popular streaming services. At this point, the average person pays about as much in streaming services as they do for their old cable package. The number of options sound like a George Carlin monologue: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, YouTube TV, Apple TV, Amazon, Peacock, Paramount+, fuboTV, and a dozen other more obscure ones.
A $3 billion price tag is roughly triple what they’re netting right now from DirecTV. More money is likely another reason for the move in addition to the shifting viewership landscape. A mega-deal like that will also boost future salary caps so there will be a trickle-down benefit, too.
The league is expected to announce its official partnership later this fall. With Steelers’ fans luck, you’ll be forced to watch live out of town games on Acrisure TV.