Apple has pulled out of negotiations for the NFL Sunday Ticket package after it was initially seen as the most likely to close the deal, Dylan Byers told Puck News.
Earlier this year, it emerged that Apple was reaching a deal with the NFL to acquire the rights to the Sunday Ticket package to bring to Apple TV, beating competition from Amazon and Disney. Executive Eddy Cue is said to have led the negotiations, to speak directly with NFL bosses about this potential deal after those with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.
Over time, however, the NFL reportedly imposed a series of limitations on the contract, so as to cause Apple to abandon negotiations altogether.
DirecTV currently owns the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which gives subscribers access to all major league football games on Sunday.
However, DirecTV will not renew its agreement. This means Sunday Ticket will have a new partner from 2023, with Apple, Amazon, Google/YouTube and Amazon all reportedly showing interest in recent months. The deal is expected to be worth between $2.5 billion and $3 billion a year.
After Apple negotiated for most of the summer, it now turns out that the company pulled out because it “sees no logic in entering into an agreement of this type at this price level”.
Restrictions flagged in the deal include a lack of international rights, geo-blocking and an imposed minimum subscription price so the NFL doesn’t cannibalize its existing broadcast deals with CBS and Fox.
This type of deal would have been contrary to Apple’s other partnerships, such as the one with Major League Soccer, which will see every game broadcast on the Apple TV app for the next decade without region lockouts of any kind and with no mandatory minimum price. .
Apple and MLS will also collaborate on marketing, including putting the Apple TV logo on every team jersey in the league and other production-enhancing features. Apple will pay around $250 million a year for the rights, with the MLS Season Pass starting in February 2023, priced at $14.99/month for everyone and $12.99/month for Apple TV+ subscribers .