Amazon, Apple and Disney (for ESPN+) have all placed bids on the next NFL Sunday Ticket deal, a new one says report from CNBC. However, it appears that a league decision is not imminent due to complications with the deal’s structure.
The report does not say whether a bidder is more likely to win. That Puck reported in April that Apple was in the “driver’s seat” to get the next ticket deal and may have already secured it. But since then, no other publication has reported that Apple has already won the bid.
DIRECTV, which has held the Sunday Ticket exclusively since its inception in 1994, has not bid on the next deal, according to CNBC. The satcaster’s current deal to broadcast the off-market package of Sunday afternoon games expires after the 2022 season.
However, the news channel says DIRECTV may be looking to strike a deal with the winner that would allow it to continue offering the ticket to bars and restaurants and perhaps its entire satellite audience.
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The new Sunday ticket holder may be interested in this arrangement to offset the cost of signing up and generate additional subscribers and revenue, especially in rural areas where streaming is still unreliable. CNBC says DIRECTV would likely pass on ticket subscription revenue to the new ticket rights holder, but continuing the ticket would help reduce subscriber churn.
“If an agreement is reached, the financial burden on the winning streaming platform could be eased,” writes CNBC. “DIRECTV is interested in maintaining a relationship with bars and restaurants. Sunday Ticket is a staple in sports bars, which use the game pack to attract fans of non-local games, most of whom have no other way to see their favorite team. Sunday Ticket is also popular among sports players who want to watch multiple games at the same time.
CNBC continues, “DIRECTV would also consider acting as a private pass-through. Under such an arrangement, it could transfer all revenue for the Sunday ticket to the rights holder, but still offer it to customers. This would allow DirecTV to reduce churn while reducing switching costs for consumers. It would also prevent potential streaming latency or reliability issues that can accompany broadcasting live football over broadband.”
Despite the financial and technical logic of such a partnership, it’s unclear whether the three bidding companies are interested, according to CNBC.
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