Apple's NFL Sunday Ticket deal hits a snag with streaming rights

NFL Sunday Ticket Logo
NFL Sunday Ticket Logo (Image credit: NFL/DirecTV)

NFL Sunday Ticket coming to Apple TV Plus is still not a certainty.

As reported by CNBC, the potential partners have been in discussions for a while now. However, according to "people familiar with the matter," negotiations have apparently slowed due to the existing restrictions surrounding the package. 

According to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, the company "isn’t interested in simply acting as a conduit for broadcasting games."

Apple is looking for partnerships with sports leagues in which it can offer consumers more than standard rights agreements — such as having free rein to offer games globally or in local markets. Apple has that type of deal with Major League Soccer, a 10-year partnership that begins in 2023.

At a Paley Center for Media panel in New York, Cue said that the company is looking for partnerships that extend far beyond the streaming rights.

“We weren’t interested in buying sports rights. There’s all kinds of capabilities that we’re going to be able to do together because we have everything together. And so if I have a great idea, I don’t have to think about, OK, well, my contract or the deal of interest will allow this.”

When will we know where NFL Sunday Ticket is going?

Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, says that he plans to decide where NFL Sunday Ticket will land by the end of this fall. In an interview, the commissioner did say that he "believes" the NFL's media rights will be going to a streaming service rather than cable.

The NFL wants a buyer for Sunday Ticket to pay between $2 billion and $3 billion annually, CNBC has previously reported. That’s a significant increase from the $1.5 billion DirecTV has been paying since 2015. The league is also looking for a company to purchase a minority stake in NFL Media, which includes linear cable networks RedZone and NFL Network, as well as The NFL has been packing the minority stake with Sunday Ticket, though it could decide to sell each separately, Goodell said.

If the deal does close before the end of fall, we're only about ten weeks away from finding out if the NFL is coming to Apple TV Plus.

Apple continues to venture into sports. In addition to working with the MLB on Friday Night Baseball, MLS has signed an agreement to bring games exclusively to the Apple TV app for the next decade. Those games will begin to stream in 2023.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.