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Apple nowhere to be seen as NFL seals $100 billion TV deal

Best Apple TV of 2021
Best Apple TV of 2021 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Analysts had previously hinted that Apple could make a play for NFL content for its TV+ platform.
  • However, a new NFL deal that runs through 2033 did not include the company.

The NFL has signed a $100 billion deal with major broadcasters including Amazon through 2033, putting to rest any murmurs that Apple TV+ could become a home for NFL games.

As announced by the NFL Thursday (opens in new tab):

The National Football League announced today that it has signed long-term agreements with media partners Amazon, CBS, ESPN/ABC, FOX, and NBC for the distribution of NFL games, the industry's most valuable content, over television and digital platforms, as well as additional media rights.

The agreement will begin with the 2023 season, when the current deal ends, and run through the 2033 season. Amazon, the only true streaming provider included, will host the NFL's first-ever all-digital package, bagging exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football to the tune of $10 billion over 10 years.

The news follows recent hints that Apple could have been a contender to get a slice of the pie (worth more than $100 billion according to multiple reports). From early March:

Analyst Neal Pilson notes that whilst this is expected to go Digital, companies like Amazon and Apple are probably not in the running. However, it's open season on Thursday Night Football. From Daniel Cohen:"Thursday Night Football" is up for grabs across ESPN+, Amazon, and possibly Apple (though that's less likely if they need to produce the games exclusively). A lot depends on whether the NFL decides to continue along the tricast/non-exclusive path.

Another analyst from that report said, "don't count out Apple TV+ as a Sunday Ticket distributor". However, Thursday's announcement confirms Apple TV+ rights to the NFL will remain a pipe dream for the foreseeable future. You can still enjoy plenty of NFL content from Amazon and other broadcasters on the best Apple TV devices available.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.