Amazon is in talks to acquire the rights for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket. According to CNBC, people with knowledge of the situation view Amazon now as the package’s frontrunner.
The NFL did not include Sunday Ticket as part of its new $100 billion rights deal it announced in March. AT&T/DirecTV still has the rights for two more seasons. However, that 27-year relationship is likely to end after the 2022-23 season. AT&T/DirecTV executives have acknowledged they may not have the balance sheet to compete with tech companies for a new deal, and DirecTV has struggled to turn the package into a profit, losing around $2.5 billion in its time holding the rights.
Sunday Ticket allows subscribers to watch all of the NFL’s out-of-market games on Fox and CBS.
Amazon is the most logical destination for Sunday Ticket. Amazon has unlimited resources and is already one of the NFL’s partners. In May, Amazon agreed to pay $1 billion per year as the exclusive provider of Thursday Night Football games beginning in 2022-23. Amazon Web Services is also NFL’s technology provider in developing Next Gen Stats, a popular database created in 2017.
Additionally, the relationship between Amazon and the NFL may soon expand beyond TNF. NFL owners announced this summer that they are looking to sell a stake in NFL Network and other league-owned media properties. While nothing is final, industry experts instantly thought of Amazon as the most viable partner.
Should Amazon secure the rights to Sunday Ticket, it’d presumably offer the package as an add-on to Amazon Prime Video, similar to the way ESPN+ charges for UFC events. Under this scenario, only Prime members could purchase Sunday Ticket.
If not Amazon, ESPN+ and AppleTV+ are two destinations to keep an eye on. ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro acknowledged publicly this week that Disney has had exploratory conversations with the league about the package, and previous reports say Apple had also discussed acquiring Sunday Ticket. Meanwhile, industry experts do not expect NBCUniversal’s Peacock to bid for the rights.
What does this mean? For those of you who know better than to bet against Tom Brady — don’t bet against Amazon. They are like Brady, sadly. And assuming Brady will play forever, Amazon could soon carry several of his games each season.