After launching the “Friday Night Baseball” season on Apple TV+, the Cupertino tech giant announced MLS Season Pass coming to the Apple TV app on February 1, 2023. Now, the company is in talks with NFL to stream “Sunday Ticket” games but the negotiations are not going smoothly.
Athletic reports that the delay in finalizing the deal between Apple and NFL is caused by disagreement giving the tech company “rights to the unknown”, and price for distribution rights.
NFL reluctant to fulfill Apple’s demand for “rights to the unknown”
NFL is seeking new partners to replace its current streaming partner, DirecTV and Apple is the favored partner in the mix which includes Amazon and Disney ESPN+. However, the two partners are not seeing eye to eye on important aspects of the deal.
The first disagreement is over the price of distribution rights. NFL’s $3.5 billion per year package does not include international streaming rights and the tech giant has an issue with that because it would not be able to claim exclusivity over CBS and FOX for in-market broadcast games.
In September, the tech giant signed a $50 million deal with NFL to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show in 2023, the deal originated during the discussion over Sunday games.
The New York Times report corroborates that the talks between the two partners have “dragged” over pricing issues. “Apple is showing reluctance in agreeing to NFL’s hefty $2.5 billion package for rights which is $1 billion more than what it currently gets from DirecTV.”
More importantly, the tech company is seeking rights to the unknown which NFL is reluctant to agree to. A person familiar with the matter said Apple was preparing for the future by demanding rights to the unknown like streaming NFL Sunday Ticket on its upcoming mixed reality headset.
“Because you have to think about, not the way things are today, not just the way things are tomorrow,” the individual said. “But the technology that has never even been invented, delivery systems that have never even been invented yet, ways people want to consume that have never been invented yet.”
All in all, the report details that the tech giant would have to land 8.75 million subscribers to bag NFL Sunday Ticket.
Apple, for example, would have to sign up 8.75 million subscribers each paying $400 for Sunday Ticket (and that’s after they pay for the core Apple TV+ service). DirecTV is believed to have about 1 million paying subscribers to Sunday Ticket.