Talks for the NFL Sunday Ticket sports rights package will likely extend into early next year, The New York Times reports.
Although analysts initially predicted Apple would land the rights, Google has stepped up its efforts in recent months as discussions have dragged on. A key player in the NFL-Google negotiations is YouTube’s chief business officer, Robert Kyncl, who will see a possible deal through before his move to Warner Music Group.
As for Amazon, it is also reportedly bidding for Sunday Ticket, but is considered a longshot after shelling out $1 billion per year for the rights to Thursday Night Football, with ratings falling short of preseason projections.
Earlier this year, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed to CNBC that Sunday Ticket would be moving to a streaming service after a 30-year deal with satellite TV provider DIRECTV.
Sunday Ticket’s eventual media partner may have more skin in the game than DIRECTV. The NFL is reportedly bundling equity in other media assets, including NFL Network and NFL RedZone, into the deal, with help from Goldman Sachs.
It was expected that Goodell would make an announcement by the end of autumn, but the Times reports that won’t be the case. The NFL and Apple are normally able to get their way in negotiations, which has reportedly stalled conversations.
Sunday Ticket allows football fans to watch all regional NFL Sunday afternoon games from anywhere in the country. The Sunday Ticket package accelerated DIRECTV’s subscriber growth in the ‘90s and still drives customers to the satellite giant.
As of Q3 2022, DIRECTV has 13.5 million subscribers. By comparison, YouTube TV has about north of 5 million and has credited at least 2 million of its subscribers to Sunday Ticket; but the deal is not profitable for the satellite provider.
This is not the first time Google has bid on the rights for Sunday Ticket. Kyncl has an existing business relationship with Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief business officer, after unsuccessfully bidding for the rights in 2013.