The athletic‘s Daniel Kaplan supports Byers’ reporting, say on Twitter that he’s been told, “Apple has indeed taken a bow.” While Apple was once considered the frontrunner in the Sunday Ticket negotiations, talks between the iPhone maker and the NFL have dragged on in recent months, with a November report from The athletic indicating that Apple’s expectations did not match those of the NFL.
According to The athletic, the iPhone maker reportedly wanted to acquire the rights to aspects not included in its Sunday Ticket contract, and also expressed concern about some of the restrictions associated with the football package, such as the fact that it will not be able to play the matches cannot stream internationally, nor can it access in-market games. Friday report Sportico revealed that Apple wanted to bundle Sunday Ticket with its $6.99-a-month Apple TV Plus subscription at no extra cost, something reporter Anthony Crupi describes as “much too magnanimous a gesture” for the NFL.
That gives Amazon and Google’s YouTube the chance to acquire the rights to Sunday Ticket. Both companies have reportedly placed bids on Sunday Ticket and have already made forays into live sports, with Amazon Prime Video streaming Thursday Night Football and YouTube TV featuring a number of sports networks. While it was rumored that Disney-owned ESPN would also be in the running for Sunday Ticket, Byers doesn’t name ESPN as a potential candidate, saying legacy media companies “can’t justify the cost” of securing the package. DirecTV has owned the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket for nearly three decades, but those rights expire at the end of this football season.