- Sunday Ticket contract has been with DirecTV since 1994
- Apple, Amazon and Disney have all made bids
National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell expects to choose a broadcast partner for the out-of-market Sunday Ticket package by the autumn.
The NFL has already secured ten-year agreements for its main broadcast packages with CBS, ESPN/ABC, Fox, NBC, and Amazon worth US$110 billion. However, the fate of the Sunday Ticket contract has yet to be resolved.
DirecTV currently pays US$1.5 billion a year for the rights in a loss-leading strategy to drive subscriptions for its satellite TV platform. However, with customer numbers falling as consumers ‘cut the cord’, it is ready to exit the stage once its deal expires after the 2023 season.
The NFL has repositioned Sunday Ticket as a streaming proposition to drive interest from over-the-top (OTT) services and to ensure its matches reach a wider audience. It hopes to achieve as much as US$2 billion a season.
Although contractual terms dictate that Sunday Ticket won’t cost less than the US$300 a season in order to protect the NFL’s linear broadcast partners, the fact that fans won’t also have to sign up for DirecTV will make a subscription more affordable.
Apple, Amazon and Disney have all submitted bids, eager to use live sport as a way to attract and retain subscribers, and Goodell told CNBC that an end to the elongated process was nigh.
“I clearly believe we’ll be moving to a streaming service,” he is quoted as saying. “I think this will make it more accessible for fans. I think it will be a better experience.”
Goodell also confirmed the organisation would be launching its own OTT platform in time for the new season in September. It is unclear what content will be available on NFL+ or how much a subscription will cost, however reports suggest it could feature radio, podcasts, as well as carrying live games for mobile and tablet devices.