Apple Reportedly Wants Flexibility Over NFL Sunday Ticket Streaming Rights

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Apple Reportedly Wants Flexibility Over NFL Sunday Ticket Streaming Rights

Apple is rumored to be the trailblazer for NFL Sunday Ticket package streaming rights, but CNBC today reported that “restrictions surrounding the Sunday Ticket have slowed negotiations between Apple and the NFL in recent months.”


The report claims that Apple is not interested in “just acting as a channel for broadcasting games” and is instead seeking a more comprehensive partnership with sports leagues. In June, for example, Apple announced that its TV app would exclusively stream every live MLS game starting in 2023, with no outages or local restrictions. Highlights, analytics, and other MLS content will also be available across the TV app and Apple News.

“For the first time in sports history, fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place,” said Apple’s head of services Eddy Cue. “This is a dream come true for MLS fans, football fans and anyone who loves the sport. No splits, no frustration — just the flexibility to sign up for one convenient service that gives you everything MLS, anywhere and anytime You want to watch.”

At a media conference in New York this week, Cue said the lack of contractual restrictions would allow his partnership with MLS to thrive. CNBC claims that Apple also wants this kind of flexibility with the NFL, such as the freedom to offer games globally.

Sunday Tickets currently offers all regional NFL games on Sunday afternoons to out-of-market viewers. The US special package has been distributed exclusively by DirecTV since 1994, but the deal was due to expire ahead of the 2023 NFL season and DirecTV is reportedly not interested in renewing its rights to the package.

Previous reports said the NFL seeks more than $2 billion a year for Sunday Ticket streaming rights, along with a minority stake in NFL Media, which oversees channels NFL Network, NFL.com, and more. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the new Sunday Ticket partners would be announced before the end of this year.

Sunday Ticket will add to Apple’s growing portfolio of live sports content available through the TV app. Apple has partnered with MLB to air the weekly double headline “Friday Night Baseball” on Apple TV+ during the 2022 regular season, while a 10-year partnership with MLS begins next year. It’s also been reported that Apple is considering offering a UEFA Champions League match package that has finally made its way to CBS.

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