Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and business officer, told CNBC last week that “we’re having lots of conversions” with both tech companies and traditional TV companies regarding the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract.
The comment would suggest that a final decision is not imminent.
DIRECTV’s exclusive agreement to carry the Sunday Ticket expires after the 2022 season and the league has been discussing the next deal with companies such as Disney (for ESPN+), Amazon, Apple and DIRECTV, among others, according to news reports.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed last week to CNBC that his company is bidding for the next Sunday Ticket.
“We’re bidding for it,” Chapek said in an interview following the release of the company’s fourth quarter report.
The New York Post reported,earlier this month that Apple is also “aggressively” seeking at least a slice of the next Sunday Ticket contract. The newspaper said DIRECTV was likely to retain the satellite rights to the next Ticket contract which would be shared with a streaming company.
The Post added that ESPN and Amazon are also likely strong contenders for the Ticket and that the pending Warner Media/Discovery merger is a “wild card.” The article said that it would “not be shocking if ESPN tried to partner with another platform/network to get the Sunday Ticket package.”
Rolapp said there’s a strong interest in the Ticket deal and suggested that any company that gets it might also become partners with the league for other assets such as the RedZone Channel, NFL Films and NFL Network.
“We’re looking for strategic partners,” he said.
Rolapp was not asked if the next Ticket agreement could include multiple companies such as ESPN, Apple or Amazon taking on the streaming rights and DIRECTV continuing to serve the satellite audience.
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— Phillip Swann