Apple Reportedly Quits NFL Sunday Ticket Streaming Negotiations

Apple has quit negotiations for the NFL Sunday Ticket package after having once been regarded as the frontrunner for the streaming rights, claims a new report.

According to Dylan Byers at Puck News, Apple has backed out of negotiations because it no longer sees the deal as worthwhile given the limitations that would be placed on it.

Rumors have suggested for months that Apple would be the "likely winner" of the NFL Sunday Ticket package, but signs of negotiation issues emerged earlier this year when CNBC reported that Apple wanted more contractual flexibility than the NFL was interested in providing.

Apple was said to have had no interest in simply acting as a conduit for broadcasting games, and instead was seeking more comprehensive partnerships with sports leagues.

In June, for example, Apple announced that its TV app will exclusively stream every live MLS match beginning in 2023, without any local blackouts or restrictions. MLS highlights, analysis, and other content will also be available across the TV app and Apple News.

In contrast, restrictions on the NFL Sunday Ticket package deal would have included local blackouts and no global rights. Pricing is also said to have been a sticking point, with Apple wanting to fold Sunday Ticket access into the $6.99 cost of an Apple TV+ subscription.

However, NFL reportedly considered that price point too low, given it needs to "protect the interests" of CBS and Fox, its Sunday afternoon broadcast partners.

Apple has been ramping up its sports offerings in recent months in an effort to draw more subscribers to ‌‌Apple TV+‌‌. The company partnered with the MLB for "Friday Night Baseball," and it has inked a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer that is set to kick off next year. As things stand, it appears NFL Sunday Ticket streaming won't be added to the list.

Top Rated Comments

nickhutson Avatar
18 months ago
the world mourns
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
azentropy Avatar
18 months ago
The NFL doesn’t like change.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adammusic Avatar
18 months ago
How many more years do i have to use **** stream sites. Get with it nfl. Just launch a solo streaming app, that’s available on every platform.
And charge $300 less than how much insane nfl ticket costs now.
Get as far away from directv as possible.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
18 months ago
Same story ends this way almost every time. Apple is interested… Apple is front runner for… Apple is demanding too much… then some other player announces they actually made the deal. Our fans here rail against both the almost (media) partner (in spite of showing huge enthusiasm when it seemed Apple was going to get them) and whoever actually strikes the deal… then rumors move on to the next media opportunity and it all repeats.

See Warner library, Fox, AAA game studios, MGM, NFL Thursday Night Football, the infamous all-inclusive TV subscription service, etc. I suspect either Apple’s name is used to get others to bid more or Apple values other content about like we seem to value it… where a $1 price hike for huge amounts of content access will get 400 posts of complete outrage.

If Apple actually wants these deals, they need to help the partner see what’s in it for them… and by that I mean how the partner will make more money partnering with Apple vs. mostly just further enriching Apple. If anyone digs into the story via non-Apple-biased press, the general theme seems to be (to paraphrase something I once read shared by the head of a major network): “Apple wants everything” (leaving only scraps for the “partner” who actually owns the content). Role reversal: how quick is Apple to give away the farm for only scraps?

Someone else will get the paying subscriber pop that will come from NFL ST. And, back in Appleland, we’ll still be spinning how the handful of things to watch on AppleTV+ are worth far more than the mass volume of content + NFL ST on the other player’s service…. until the next big content deal comes up and “Apple is interested in…” flies yet again.

Too bad about this one too. It prob would have sold a LOT of AppleTVs and a LOT of AppleTV+ service to brand new households. There are plenty of rusting dishes hanging off houses all across North America that were primarily put there to get NFL ST. One reason DirectTV and then AT&T paid so much for it for all those years was that it was effective at motiving new purchases and retaining existing sports fans year after year. The winner of this contest will likely appreciate the lift in paying subscribers NFL ST gets them.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
andrew8404 Avatar
18 months ago
I'm not buying Apple wanted to include it in the 6.99 price. Thats just stupid. The MLS deal isn't included in the 6.99 price so why would they want the NFL to be included in that. Terrible rumors with no substance.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
18 months ago
This was being reported by other outlets over the weekend. I can't say that I'm surprised - the NFL is less concerned about protecting the interests of the networks, but rather extracting the maximum value of a contract.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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