Q. I read on Twitter that Amazon is guaranteed to get the NFL Sunday Ticket. Is that true and when does DIRECTV lose the Sunday Ticket if it doesn’t keep it? — Jack, Jacksonville, Florida. 

Jack, DIRECTV is expected to continue offering the NFL Sunday Ticket as an exclusive through the 2022 season. I say, expected, because AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, will not comment on the length of the current contract. However, as I report here, it appears it will run through 2022. The NFL is currently negotiating new TV contracts and the post-2022 Sunday Ticket agreement could be announced in the next several months.

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Now to your question regarding Amazon, your source might be a report last week from industry analyst Dan Rayburn who tweeted the following:

As The NFL Negotiates a New Partner for NFL Sunday Ticket, Amazon Appears To Be In The Lead. Based on what I hear from those close to the NFL negotiations, Amazon is in the driver’s seat for the NFL’s new direct-to-consumer offering,” Rayburn wrote on Twitter.

The tweet included a link to his blog in which he says the NFL no longer wants to offer the NFL Sunday Ticket through a ‘restricted’ platform, such as satellite TV. In addition, he notes that multiple reports have suggested AT&T is likely not interested in renewing the deal anyway because it’s trying to sell DIRECTV.

“Amazon looks to be in the lead for the new digital direct-to-consumer offering of what is currently branded NFL Sunday Ticket,” he stated.

Previous reports have said Amazon, along with Comcast, ESPN, Apple and perhaps Google, are interested in bidding for the Sunday Ticket. The package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games could be a powerful weapon for any digital company looking to separate itself from the pack. And Amazon’s growing interest in live sports, and digital domination, is well advertised.

To understand why Comcast might want to add the Sunday Ticket to Peacock, see our article, NFL Sunday Ticket: Who Will Get It Next?

However, it’s likely premature to say Amazon is in “the driver’s seat.” As Rayburn’s own blog notes, the NFL hasn’t even discussed pricing details such as revenue splits with companies interested in bidding. It’s hard to imagine any company being in the lead when pricing hasn’t even been discussed. A company’s interest can quickly wane once dollar figures are traded across a table.

Rayburn is well known in the industry, and has multiple sources. But I think he’s walked a few feet too far on the limb here. Amazon could ultimately win the race, but it’s too early to start declaring a specific company is the front runner.

Jack, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann