I feel like we’ve written some version of the same NFL Sunday Ticket article for the last year or so, so let’s go ahead and do it again. Per John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, Sunday Ticket’s future seems “likely” to be on a streaming service for the 2023 season, with Apple and current Thursday Night Football rightsholder Amazon listed as favorite. Disney is also still involved in the biding, but Ourand reports that Disney’s potential outlay on Sunday Ticket is “well below the amount Apple and Amazon have discussed.”
Ourand’s sources peg the value of Sunday Ticket at over $2 billion per year, a nice increase on the $1.5 billion DirecTV is currently paying. However, DirecTV might not be out of the Sunday Ticket game altogether – the report from SBJ notes that the company is “negotiating to wind up with a commercial license,” meaning they could still sell the service to sports bars.
As has been reported numerous times over the last year, the NFL is also looking to sell a chunk of its media operations in the Sunday Ticket deal, which is possibly making these negotiations more complicated.
ESPN/Disney have been rumored as Sunday Ticket bidders for the last year, while Apple emerged as an intriguing option over the summer. Amazon has been labeled the front-runner for Sunday Ticket two separate times over the last six months.
One interesting (new) note in the report is about pricing. Don’t expect cheaper Sunday Ticket with the new partner.
CBS and Fox have clauses in their NFL contracts mandating that Sunday Ticket can only be offered at a premium price, meaning that it likely will carry a similar price tag with a new partner as it does with DirecTV.
And now, here we are again. Until something is officially announced, I’m sure we’ll be back in the coming months to write a similar story.