Report: Apple bows out of Sunday Ticket talks, leaving Amazon and Google as the finalists

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The company once regarded as the frontrunner for NFL Sunday Ticket has opted to take a Sunday drive, instead.

Buried in an item on from Dylan Byer and Julia Alexander regarding recent changes at the top of Disney is an NFL bombshell: Apple has bowed out of the bidding for the out-of-market package the DirecTV will relinquish in only 23 days.

Here’s the key quote, from Byer: “I’m now told that Apple, once seen as a frontrunner for the rights, has also backed out of those negotiations — not because they can’t afford it, but because they don’t see the logic. So it’s down to Amazon and Google, and there’s certainly a logic there for both companies: Amazon can use it to drive Prime subscriptions; Google can use it to fuel its YouTube TV business.”

This also means the Disney/ESPN has exited the bidding, too.

Apple’s decision to take a pass is a stunner, since Apple had emerged as the clear frontrunner for the package that DirecTV has held since its inception in 1994. Between, however, the extreme asking price and the strict limitations imposed on the product, there’s a point at which one corporate behemoth tells the other to get lost.

And that’s what Apple did to the NFL.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week that the process is at a “very critical point.” With Apple stepping aside, that observation becomes an understatement.

61 responses to “Report: Apple bows out of Sunday Ticket talks, leaving Amazon and Google as the finalists

  1. Sell it to them both for the same price. Duh. Everybody wins and advertisements hit more viewers.

  2. NFL is peanuts when compared to Apple revenue. When NFL over played their hands Apple told nfl to get lost.

  3. Interesting. Two rather large suitors laser focused on profits and revenue bowed out. One a massive tech mogul and the other a sports and entertainment mogul. It makes you wonder what they saw during their discovery to say “No thanks, not worth it.”

    I, for one, would love it if Amazon and Google dropped out. Just to see the NFL with their junk in their hand.

  4. I’m a fan of Apple products, but Apple TV has a long way to go. Not much to offer in the form of features, functionality or content.

  5. Based on this and earlier reports we can safely assume the service will continue be terrible with zero innovation. Now take my money…

  6. Wouldn’t it be great if nobody wanted the deal on the NFL’s terms and they had to actually lower the price and make concessions?

  7. I am good with either one but would prefer Amazon. I am already a Prime member. But anything has to be better than DirecTV.

  8. There’s no chance Apple voluntarily ended the negotiations. It seems more likely that the NFL demanded a clear pathway for Apple streaming to gain as many subscribers as Amazon streaming already has. The DirecTV deal throttled the number of people who could order Sunday Ticket and Apple streaming would do the same. In my opinion Amazon was always the front runner for this because they have the money, the platform, and the subscribers. Google’s going to have to fight the same battle as Apple. Nobody’s streaming Google TV, why would the NFL choose them over Amazon when the bid difference is going to be negligible over the next 10 year period?

  9. Sometimes the price is so high, it’s even greater than the appetite for the reseller to provide it to the eventual consumer.

    It defies logic, but it is now potentially true.

    I think Amazon will realize people won’t buy Prime for the NFL, just as Prime buyers aren’t guaranteed to be an audience for the NFL.

    Until there is a simple package for people to watch their out-of-market team on a game-to-game basis, there is still a huge gap.

  10. Just here to say the Direct Ticket sucks. Local games are blacked out. No Sunday night game. No Monday night game. No Thursday night game. The NFL is forcing us to get 6 different services to watch their product and personally I’d rather just pirate it all.

  11. The bubble is bursting, and the biggest revenue stream will be gambling, and THAT is going to lead nowhere good. I could easily foresee scandals involving officials who are offered huge money to throw games down the road. Sometimes you see calls that make you wonder if it’s already happening

  12. Apple was told they couldn’t include it for free with their Apple+ subscription. Been reported already.

  13. If this is true, major bummer. Apple seems to be the one online presence that is flawless, every single time.

  14. Big mistake by the NFL. This should be interesting. Apple has the capability and reach to provide a superior product.

  15. I refuse to be bullied into buying a PRIME SUBSCRIPTION for Thursday games …I won’t be bullied into buying another company’s subscription for Sunday night games, and when the NFL continues to sell off the rights to Sunday and Minday night games…..I will be officially DONE with NFL football after 55 years. Great job NFL.

  16. Whoever gets the contract, let’s hope it’s better suited for the people then the current model. The all or nothing approach seems bad for business in my opinion. I pay $68 plus taxes per month (with a discount code) to stream all games when I really only wanna watch my team. They just need more options. Maybe price individual games or have a team package. Just a little variety for consumers.

  17. Apple was smart enough to realize the unholy marriage of the gambling industry with the No Fun League will result in massively fixed games that will destroy what little “Integrity of the game” rotten Roger espouses.

    Anyone who believes this version of the NFL (with it’s amazingly close games every weekend) is not the result of massive fraud, also believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy. Enjoy the Bigtime Wrestingfircation of what was once an awesome sport.

  18. Once upon a time boxing was king of the sports world. No sports fan missed a title match and the networks scrambled to air the bouts. Then they started chasing PPV and the short term financial gains. The problem? A generation of sports fans missed boxing as a legit sport. Now boxing is an afterthought. They priced themselves right out of the common man’s reach. The NFL is perilously close to the same journey…

  19. NFL is asking for crazy money and Apple has sense enough
    to say never-mind we’re not interested.

  20. The NFL better make a decision before Amazon and Google “Don’t see the logic either”. With higher interest rates and high inflation many people are cutting back on their discretionary spending and just buying the “essentials”. So even people that would subscribe to Sunday Ticket in a good economy, won’t be subscribing to Sunday Ticket in this type of economy.

  21. Amazons audio feed is weird. It’s almost as if they muffle out the crowd noise and what’s heard on field with more of an emphasis on the announcing team, which makes for a very unexciting viewing experience. And on top of that Al Michaels in particular – he is excessively drab, dull and boring. I would imagine most, or more people have youtubetv which is freaking amazing, and if that’s what they mean by google – then I’ll take them a million times over

  22. It’s time we go back to Sunday and Monday games only. You want to build a fan base, let all fans be able to watch the games.

  23. I think Apple has become weary of the way Goodell is running things. Maybe there are concerns of something going wrong with all the gambling going on and they don’t want to be holding tue bag when all hell breaks loose.

  24. Apple TV has few subscribers and quite frankly, sucks. If the NFL really cared about growing it’s audience, they would put Sunday Ticket on multiple services at a reasonable price point.

  25. NFL should consider opening up the NFL license for different companies to make another NFL videogame next.

  26. When will we be able to purchase just my team’s games like I being forced to buy the whole package.

  27. Too bad. I like Apple. Apple was gonna offer Sunday Ticket free with a AppleTV purchase ($149) and monthly subscription to AppleTV + for $6.99 month. NFL did not like that apparently and put the breaks on the deal.

  28. Most of the games are spread out enough all week they on for free or consumers are becoming savvy enough to get them for free with one of those apps that broadcasts every city’s local channel. Only the boomers need a Sunday ticket product anymore and Apple figured the price started far exceeding the boomer demographic.

    The real product these companies should be after is soccer. That game is 100x more watchable.

  29. I had DirectTv and they used it as a bargaining chip when it was time to lower your ridiculously high bill–so they would throw it in for “free.” I never paid for Sunday Ticket and hardly ever used it. You can only watch 2 Sunday games–the early game and the late afternoon game so the high fee makes it useless unless you have a really bad marriage and want to watch Houston vs. Jacksonville. I somehow remember back in the 70s the NFL agreed not to go to pay TV to get their partial anti-trust exemption. They still have the exemption but us fans are screwed. I think Apple finally realized the whole NFL TV picture is a joke and the other companies are paying ridiculously high fees for live TV which translates to higher cable and streaming bills. Sports fans are the biggest suckers alive. I love seeing 60-year-old men wearing the jersey of a 23-year-old. Perverse!

  30. For the people who say, make it free with Prime, they haven’t been paying attention to negotiations. Apple wanted to include Sunday Ticket with Apple+. NFL said no, because the broadcasters pay a bunch of money for the rights to air games: if the Sunday Ticket went to Apple+ for the price of an Apple+ subscription, many people would get Sunday Ticket instead of watch the broadcast. That’s why whoever gets Sunday Ticket will still have to charge $300+ because it’s in the contract with the broadcasters that Sunday Ticket will still have to be $300+ to protect the broadcasters investment. That’s why this deal is taking so long. The companies that want these rights, don’t want to charge their customers $300+ dollars for Sunday Ticket on top of their monthly subscription. They want to make the Sunday Ticket part of their Subscription package, but the NFL has said no to that idea. So, its gonna be interesting who wins these rights and what stipulations will be set for how the acquiring rights holder can use and charge for Sunday ticket. These negotiations will have to wrap up soon because this contract starts next season, and whoever wins these rights will need months to get all the wrinkles ironed out in the service before rolling it out to consumers next season.

  31. This will be the end of football as I know it. I absolutely HATE watching on streaming services because it makes it impossible to flip channels without having to deal with apps and signing in and out. Plus the video quality is garbage compared to DIRECTV.

  32. I wonder why the league just doesn’t create a pay version of the NFL Network to air games? My guess is it has something to do with losing the major network revenue if they do!

  33. Streaming has been very shaky at times. We have 7 tv’s and watch all the games on Sundays. Im worried about the viability of streaming multiple games at once. Sounds like it wil be a disaster

  34. I do not like the experience of current Thursday night on Amazon. It will be worse if there are multiple games on other channels or streaming devices because I like to flip between games. Not an easy task with streaming. I have watch one Thursday night game and did not like this medium for the game. My NFL viewing will likely be limited to over the airwaves.

    I agree with a previous poster on losing audience over the years. The younger generation is not watching the games. They won’t be buying season tickets when they get older. NFL needs to find a way to get more kids in the stadiums. If not, say goodbye to them as fans.

  35. I have always wanted to pay for any game I want on a per game basis. Hopefully, this gives me that option.

  36. Apple could buy the NFL with pocket change. Looks like they decided to spend their money on more important things.

  37. Bezos will throw crazy money at Sunday Ticket which he has so get ready for Amazon getting the package.

  38. The Prime Thursday night games have been extremely frustrating to try and watch. The pixelating, frozen pictures, and the time it requires to load are horrible. If you decide to check something on another channel, you are forced to leave Prime and then again the time required to return is ridiculous. If this is the future of the NFL then the I’ll just quit watching. Besides, all the legal drama continuously surrounding the league takes away from the games and competition.

  39. Given what the asking price is, it’s hard to see how any company could purchase the rights and make it a profitable purchase

  40. December 16, 2022 at 11:02 pm
    The bubble is bursting, and the biggest revenue stream will be gambling, and THAT is going to lead nowhere good. I could easily foresee scandals involving officials who are offered huge money to throw games down the road. Sometimes you see calls that make you wonder if it’s already happening

    Wait a minute here, are you actually calling into question the integrity of the NFL’s part-time officials? You know, those officials that give the NFL a built-in excuse when brutal calls are made, such as those that influence the outcomes of games. You know, the same officials that would benefit from off-season training if they were, you know, full-time employees charged with protecting the integrity of the NFL.
    Absolutely unbelievable. A mega-$billion industry using part-time officials. The NFL seemed to be moving in the right direction in 2017/2018 when ~ 20% of its officials were made full-time employees. I wonder what prompted the league to abandon that program for 2019? Yeah, I wonder…

  41. I don’t understand all the DirecTV Sunday Ticket hate.
    I go straight to the channel of the game I want to watch all without stupid apps , passwords or downloads. Picture and sound quality is great and in HD and I can easily flip the channel to another game.

  42. Anyone that thinks Amazon would pay through the nose to get the ‘Ticket then give it away at no additional cost needs to go in for a mental evaluation.

  43. Why not sell it to one of the three letter networks to were we can all get it for free , it has worked for the last 50+ years and they have made so much money they don’t know what to do with it . The NFL is going to hit hard times caus they are getting way to greedy you can’t stay on top forever

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