TV Answer Man, I read that Apple will announce the NFL Sunday Ticket deal at next week’s WW Developers Conference. Is that true? Is the deal locked up? — Shannon, Sacramento.
Shannon, Apple will hold its 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) from Monday, June 6, through Friday, June 10 at Apple Park in Cupertino, California. The annual event, which includes speeches from company executives and discussion sessions with industry leaders, often serves as a showcase for new Apple technologies and innovations.
Update: Apple CEO Tim Cook did not mention the NFL Sunday Ticket during Monday’s WWDC opening keynote. The mystery of which company will get the next Ticket contract continues.
“In addition to the announcements shared from the keynote and State of the Union presentations, this year’s program will also include more information sessions, more cutting-edge learning labs, more digital lounges to engage with attendees, and more localized content to make WWDC22 a truly global event,” Apple said in a press release announcing the conference.
With the conference less than six days away, rumors are flying that Apple will reveal that it has signed an agreement with the NFL for Apple TV+ to host the NFL Sunday Ticket after DIRECTV’s current pact with the league expires following the 2022 season.
The chatter seems to have been triggered by an April report by The Puck’s Matthew Belloni that quoted an anonymous source as saying that Apple has secured the deal but wanted to keep that confidential for a time for reasons unexplained.
That in turn triggered speculation that Apple was waiting to make the announcement at a high-profile company event to maximize publicity. And since the WWDC is the first major Apple event since the Belloni report, the theory is that Apple CEO Tim Cook will make the announcement in a keynote speech on the conference’s first day, June 6.
I’m not going to say it won’t happen, but before we get carried away, note that Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported after the Belloni report that his sources told him that both Amazon and Apple were still in contention for the next Ticket contract with ESPN a distant third. Plus, Belloni’s own article quoted another anonymous source as saying that Apple was in “the driver’s seat” to win the Ticket, but no deal was done.
My gut tells me that it will be a few months (or more) before we learn who’s the next Sunday Ticket rights holder. But I will admit that I will be listening closely to Apple’s presentation on Monday.
Shannon, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann