Disney CEO Bob Chapek says his company is now in “negotiations” with the NFL for the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract.
In an interview yesterday with CNBC, Chapek was asked if Disney was still trying to secure the Sunday Ticket rights for its streaming service, ESPN+. Disney executives said last spring the company would be interested in offering the Ticket to its ESPN+ subscribers when the league’s current agreement with DIRECTV expires after the 2022 season.
In March, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said Disney wanted to discuss the Sunday Ticket with the NFL “when those talks start up.” However, Chapek said yesterday that negotiations are underway.
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“We are in discussions and negotiations with the NFL for those rights,” Chapek said. “We think they would make a particularly good addendum, if you will, for our ESPN+ service given the nature of what they are… But we’re very bullish on sports.”
DIRECTV has the exclusive rights for the Ticket, the NFL’s package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games, for this and the 2022 season. However, the league is discussing the next contract with multiple companies, possibly including Disney, Amazon, Apple and DIRECTV.
It’s unclear if the next agreement will be awarded as an exclusive or split between a streaming company and a pay TV operator such as DIRECTV. The league has not said when it will decide on the next contract, but CNBC has reported it could happen before the Super Bowl in February 2022.
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— Phillip Swann
After what they did to the UFC, ESPN+ is one of the last places I would like to see Sunday Ticket end up.