Amazon and Google are now in the lead.
Apple was tipped to win the streaming rights to the Sunday Ticket package from the National Football League in 2021. A year later, it has reportedly ended talks with the company. The information was taken from an article in Puck regarding Bob Iger's unexpected return to Disney. "Not because they can't afford [the package], but because they don't understand the logic," claims author Dylan Byers of Apple's latest rejection of the NFL.
Disney apparently withdrew from the negotiations as well, so Amazon and Google are now in a two-horse fight. According to Byers, "Amazon can use [the transaction] to promote Prime subscriptions, and Google can use it to promote its YouTube TV business.
Given that Thursday Night Football will only air on Prime Video for the next ten years, Amazon is definitely the better option out of the two suitors.
The NFL was reportedly asking for more than $2 billion annually for Sunday Ticket rights last year, which was at least $500 million more than what DirecTV had been paying to broadcast Sunday games, according to The Athletic. Sunday Ticket discussions are at "a very important point" for the league, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated at a press conference earlier this week. It appears that was a slight understatement.
This indicates that starting in 2023, Sunday Ticket will have a new partner. According to reports, Apple, Amazon, Google (YouTube), and other companies have expressed interest. A contract is anticipated to have an annual value of $2.5 billion to $3 billion.
Even though Apple pursued a transaction throughout the most of the summer, according to Byers, "Apple don't see the logic" in concluding a deal at that level.
Lack of foreign rights, geographical blackouts, and a mandated minimum membership fee are reportedly conditions on the agreement, keeping the NFL from cannibalizing its current broadcast agreements with CBS and Fox.
Compare this to Apple's relationship with Major League Soccer, which will allow every MLS game to be streamed on the Apple TV app for the next ten years without any type of regional blackout and in more than a hundred different languages and locations.
Additionally, Apple and MLS will work together on marketing, putting an Apple TV emblem on each team's shirt and other features that will improve the quality of the final product. For the MLS rights, Apple is paying around $250 million yearly. Beginning in February 2023, MLS Season Pass will cost $14.99/month or $12.99/month for Apple TV+ customers. It's a considerably more enticing offer, even though the sports franchise involved is vastly less well-known than the NFL.