Apple TV 4K with TV appSource: 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:

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.

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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.

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