Chance Miller, 9to5Mac:
The report explains that the NFL is on the verge of having to renew “most if not all of its media contracts.” While it appears that the Monday Night Football package is likely to remain with ESPN, there are other deals to consider, including NFL Sunday Ticket and Thursday Night Football.
A critical piece of background here: DirecTV (now owned by AT&T) paid about $1.5 billion (with a B) a year for the rights to stream NFL games on Sundays. They are not expected to renew that deal, which expires at the end of this coming NFL season.
The door is wide open for Apple to add the NFL to Apple TV+, which could bring a huge audience to the service. Apple’s interest in adding the NFL has been rumored for years.
Apple was also said to have been involved in negotiations with the NFL for Thursday Night Football in 2016. Ultimately, the NFL ended up reaching a deal with Amazon, which was renewed for two more seasons in 2018 for a whopping $130 million.
Big money. Very interested to see how this plays out.
The NFL’s Sunday Ticket package has not been on the market for more than 15 years. Though the NFL audience has grown significantly since then, that same time has seen pushback on the game, due to raised awareness of the longterm impact of head injuries, social issues (think Colin Kaepernick and kneeling in protest), physical violence, and other issues. Have to wonder how those issues will impact Apple’s involvement with the sport.