Which streaming service will win the NFL's favor? Let's go to the chalkboard

7 min read
It seems like every streaming service is in the running to win the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket when the current deal expires. We weigh the pros and cons.
If it seems like every major streaming service has been in the conversation to acquire the rights to distribute the highly desired NFL Sunday Ticket package, you're right. Anonymous sources have been busy in 2021. Amazon has been in talks. So has Disney. Anyone with money, really.

The latest round has Apple, whose discussions leaked earlier in the summer, as the preferred suitor, according to yet more anonymous sources from The Athletic. And it goes on to say that "everything is on the table," including a more à la carte plan that would allow you to only pay for the games you actually want to watch, something that's been verboten in the television world since, well, forever.

The suitors are many, and they've got deep pockets. DirecTV has been paying something like $1.5 billion a year for the rights to Sunday Ticket, and that's supposed to go up to $2 billion a year after the current deal expires at the end of the 2022-23 season.

It's all up in the air at this point, like a badly thrown ball from Ben Roethlisberger that could either find its way into the end zone or wobbles like a wounded duck. But it's also worth a little exploration of where the services and their parent companies stand today in the early weeks of the 2021 NFL season. Things undoubtedly will change, and it's important to remember that the NFL earlier this year signed a wave of new contracts that take the television players through 2033. But that's not counting Sunday Ticket, and it's certainly nothing that the contract lawyers couldn't work out.

So let's throw some wild speculation around for a few hundred words.


This one's a real possibility. For one, Amazon already has the rights for Thursday Night Football, and has for a few years now. While that's not exactly a marquee night for sports of any kind, it's still an exclusive. And if there's one thing sports leagues and tech companies (and the execs of both) love, it's to be the first or only one to be doing something.

And Amazon…
Phil Nickinson
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