Brian Rolapp: Sunday Ticket is “ripe for innovation”

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The NFL’s longstanding arrangement with DirecTV for the Sunday Ticket product expires after the 2022 season. The league could be planning to give it a long-overdue facelift.

NFL Chief Media and Business Officer Brian Rolapp, appearing at the CAA World Congress of Sports, admitted that Sunday Ticket is “ripe for innovation.”

Via Sports Business Journal, Rolapp said that there is a “ton of interest in those rights, not only from traditional providers, but also some of the new tech providers.”

The NFL reportedly wants Apple to land the package. Ultimately, however, the NFL will go (as it does, and as it should) where the money is.

One possibility would be to cut out the middleman and sell the product directly to viewers, without a partner, like the NFL does with its Game Pass product. But if some third party is willing to pay a premium for the partnership, the league can make more money that way.

The real question is whether Sunday Ticket will continue to include an obligation to buy all out-of-market games, or whether games can be purchased by team, by week, or one at a time. The traditional model includes making a significant payment for the full-season rights. An innovation that gives viewers flexibility would be greeted with enthusiasm by many.