There is a row between the NFL and Apple in the Sunday Ticket negotiations

Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (15) is fired by Los Angeles Chargers’ Drew Tranquil (49) in the first quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday, September 15, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.

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The NFL season heads into its sixth week, and it’s still unclear which company will become the new owner of the rights to Sunday Ticket – the only remaining exclusive broadcast package that won’t renew until 2030.

apple It was among my favorites to get the package, in part because the league has already made valid broadcast deals with rival bidders, including Disney And the Amazon. partnership with apple It would allow the NFL to build a relationship with the deepest company in the world.

But current restrictions around the Sunday Ticket have slowed negotiations between Apple and the NFL in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter. People said talks between the league and potential Sunday Ticket buyers are continuing.

Spokespeople for Apple and the NFL declined to comment.

The NFL and Apple, two of the most powerful corporate entities in the world, used to get what they wanted.

Apple isn’t interested in simply acting as a game-streaming channel, according to Eddie Q, Apple’s senior vice president of services. Cue oversees Apple’s media, sports, and streaming service Apple TV+ partnerships. Apple is looking for partnerships with sports federations that can offer consumers more than standard rights agreements — such as having the freedom to deliver games globally or in local markets. Apple has this kind of deal with Major League Soccer, a 10-year partnership beginning in 2023.

“We weren’t interested in buying the rights to the sport,” Keough said this week at the Bally Media Center in New York. “There are all kinds of abilities that we will be able to do together because we have it all together. So if I had a great idea, I don’t have to think, well, my contract or the deal of interest would allow that.”

The iPhone maker is the exclusive broadcast partner of MLS, although some line networks may buy the rights to simulcast football league matches. The agreement allows Apple to broadcast every game in every season for the next 10 years globally. It plans to build MLS steaming capabilities into its apps, such as Apple News.

While Cue’s “cool idea” could manifest a workable solution quickly with MLS, the same may not be possible with the NFL, which has been working with FoxAnd the Paramount GlobalAnd the ComcastNBCUniversal and Disney for decades. The League also sold its “Thursday Night Football” package to Amazon.

NFL Last year it renewed TV broadcasting agreements with both Fox and CBS until 2030. These deals guarantee exclusive local games. Fox and CBS devised entire corporate strategies around this exclusivity, including buying local television stations that match the NFL markets where they hold the rights. For example, Fox own local stations in Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Minneapolis. Philadelphia. Phoenix. San Francisco, Tampa, Florida; And Washington, DC – all places with NFC teams, because Fox has the NFC Sunday package.

Sunday Ticket is also a US-only product. It remains unclear what the NFL is willing to give Apple to cement a deal beyond what has been sold to DirecTV over the past 28 years. However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told CNBC in July that part of the benefit of selling to a streaming device is “innovation far beyond where we are today.”

I think NFL media rights will pass to the streaming service, says NFL's Goodell

Goodell said he plans to pick a new home for Sunday tickets by fall this year. In this timeline, it is assumed that the winning bidder will be announced in the next 10 weeks. CNBC previously reported that the NFL wants to pay a Sunday Ticket buyer between $2 billion and $3 billion annually. this A significant increase from the $1.5 billion DirecTV has been paying since 2015. The league is also looking for a company to buy a minority stake in NFL Media, which includes linear cable networks RedZone and NFL Network, as well as Goodell said the NFL is packing a minority stake for the Sunday Ticket, although it may decide to sell each separately.

In addition to partnering with MLS, Apple has been putting in the breadcrumbs that want to dive big into live sports. apple make a deal With Major League Baseball to carry exclusive Friday Night matches this season. And last month, the NFL Apple Music announced as a new partner for the Super Bowl halftime show.

The longer the NFL waits for a deal, the less time the new rights holder will have to market the product for next season. DirecTV executives have been waiting for nearly two years to announce a new partner and were surprised at how long it took to find a partner, according to people familiar with the matter. DirecTV routinely loses money on the Sunday Ticket and does not participate in this round of bidding. CNBC reported in June.

The satellite provider will be interested in maintaining its commercial agreement to carry games in bars and restaurants or serve as a pass for the Sunday ticket winner, as existing DirecTV customers can continue to get the package through the pay-TV service, CNBC reported in June.

Disclosure: Comcast’s NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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