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.