TV Answer Man, I can’t believe that the NFL hasn’t made a decision on the NFL Sunday Ticket deal yet? What is taking them so long? Could it be that no one is actually interested in taking over from DIRECTV? — Tony, Las Vegas. 

Tony, DIRECTV’s exclusive contract to carry the out-of-market package of Sunday afternoon NFL games, known as the Sunday Ticket, expires after the 2022 season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during the summer that he expected a decision on the next deal in the Fall, which of course could be as late as December 20.

DIRECTV has indicated it’s not bidding on the next contract and Goodell said he believes it will go to a streaming company. That’s where it starts to get tricky.

The New York Times and CNBC have reported that talks between Apple and the league have stalled over several issues, including how much the deal should cost. DIRECTV pays $1.5 billion a year, but the NFL wants more than $2 billion a year for this agreement, according to multiple news reports. There are possibly other obstacles such as whether the Sunday Ticket deal should also include a financial stake in NFL properties such as the NFL Plus mobile service, among others.

Amazon, Google and Disney reportedly have also made bids for the Ticket contract, but it’s been unclear if their interest is as intense as Apple.

However, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio yesterday weighed in with a few new nuggets about the negotiations.

“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, there’s no current timeline for making a decision on the future of Sunday Ticket. The source says that ‘multiple’ companies remain in the mix,” Florio writes.

If the source is correct, it would possibly supplant Goodell’s statement that a decision will come by Fall. It would also suggest that Apple may no longer hold a front-runner position, as many journalists have suggested it does over the last several months. Multiple companies in the mix sounds like it’s still up for grabs.

Of course, it’s conceivable a new report will emerge soon suggesting the opposite is true. (There have been numerous articles over the last year or so saying different companies are in the lead.) But for now, according to Florio’s source, it’s anybody’s game and there’s no guarantee we’ll get a decision before year’s end.

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

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— Phillip Swann