Apple's NFL Sunday Ticket pursuit rumbles on with Google keen to compete

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

Apple continues to work to bring NFL Sunday Ticket to the Apple TV app and set-top boxes, but it is by no means a done deal — despite what some in the industry might have thought.

Not only is Apple not over the line in terms of signing a deal with the NFL, but a new report also notes that it faces stiff competition from a Google that's keen to roll NFL content into its YouTube TV offering.

Just the ticket

A New York Times report points to ongoing discussions between the NFL and potential rights-holders that include Apple, Google, Amazon, and Disney's ESPN. But while the report says that some in the industry believed that Apple had already done a deal with the NFL, it's Google that is pushing right now.

"Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, has played a key role in Google’s pursuit," The NYT says before noting that Kyncl "has a relationship with Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief business officer, who worked with Mr. Kyncl during Google’s unsuccessful bid for Sunday Ticket in 2013."

As for why no deal has been done to date, the report points to the NFL's attempts to bundle additional content into the deal that was originally solely for Sunday Ticket.

"The league’s negotiations with Apple, Google, and others have become protracted because it is trying to bundle the package of out-of-market Sunday NFL games with other media assets, including NFL Network and the NFL RedZone channel, according to these people," the NYT reports.

The report also points a finger at the NFL's attempts to sign a deal with a movie company, saying it might have impacted negotiations. The outfit has since signed with Skydance Sports to have various NFL-themed movies made. Now that's done and dusted, attention can again turn to Apple's Sunday Ticket advances.

It isn't thought that a deal for Sunday Ticket is likely to be signed soon, however, despite NFL commissioner Roger Goodell having previously said he expected it to be completed by the fall.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.