For months, Apple has been considered the front runner to land the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract, but several news reports have said the Apple-NFL talks have stalled and the New York Times now says that could open the door for Google to emerge victorious.

In an article published yesterday, the Times writes that Google is interested in obtaining the Ticket for its live streaming service, YouTube TV. (DIRECTV’s current exclusive deal to carry the package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games expires after the 2022 season.)

“In the absence of (an Apple) deal, Google has stepped up its pursuit, aiming to win the package for YouTube TV,” the Times writes.

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The article says the talks have been complicated by the league’s interest in including other NFL properties such as the RedZone Channel, NFL Network and NFL Plus. That could put the final price tag well over $2 billion a year. (DIRECTV now pays $1.5 billion a year.)

With the nation’s economy possibly facing a recession, and numerous companies including Apple, Google, Amazon and Disney (all interested in the Ticket contract) announcing job layoffs and other cutbacks, that could make the negotiations even more difficult. The Times says a decision now may not come until early next year, as opposed to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s declaration last summer that it would be in the fall.

But despite the economic barriers, the Times quotes sources as saying that wouldn’t stop Google from going all-in on its bid. The company believes that the Ticket could generate at least two million additional subscribers to its YouTube TV business. (That’s the estimated subscriber total for DIRECTV’s Sunday Ticket package.)

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In contrast, the article quotes industry analysts as saying Amazon and Disney (for ESPN+) are unlikely to make a competitive bid due to economic concerns.

The Times writes that all involved parties had no comment or had not responded to a comment request at the time of publication.

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— Phillip Swann