TV Answer Man, what is the latest on the Sunday Ticket negotiations. Didn’t the commissioner say a decision would come by the end of the year or the fall? What’s the deal? — Frannie, Lexington, Kentucky. 

Frannie, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has given multiple timetables over the last few years for when the league will reveal which company will take over the NFL Sunday Ticket starting with the 2023 season.

(DIRECTV has acknowledged that it does not plan to bid to renew its exclusive rights, although it would like to continue serving bars and restaurants with the Ticket if it can strike a deal with whatever streaming company takes over starting with the 2023 season. It’s also possible that DIRECTV could continue offering the Ticket in select rural areas if the new rights holder agrees.)

Since Goodell said last summer that the Ticket decision would come in the fall — and fall ends next week — he was asked about the negotiations yesterday in a press conference at the NFL owners meeting in Texas.

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“I would say it’s in a very critical point for us,” Goodell said, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “We’ve had a lot of interest in this, and we continue to. Our decisions are not based on timelines. They’re based on it being the best outcome with the best party.”

That’s not very enlightening, is it? But it is interesting that Goodell retreated from his ‘in the fall’ deadline. Perhaps from that we can assume a decision will not come in the next week? Front Office Sports quotes a source as saying an announcement is not likely until next month.

In related updates, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported this week that Apple and the NFL are still at an impasse in their negotiations for the Ticket. Marchand says Apple wanted (wants?) to include the Ticket in its $6.99 a month Apple TV+ subscription plan while the league insists that it be priced similar to what DIRECTV charges ($293 for its base plan, $395 for its Max plan) to ensure that viewership does not reach a level that it could hurt the ratings of Fox and CBS.

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Amazon, Google and Disney have also signaled interest in the Ticket contract but there has been nothing substantially new on them since the New York Times reported last month that Google is getting more aggressive in its pursuit.

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

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— Phillip Swann