It’s been rumored since last summer that Apple TV Plus is looking to get a slice of the NFL, and a recent report suggests that Apple's streaming service could become the new home of NFL Sunday Ticket from the 2023 season.
It's been reported that NFL Sunday Ticket is set to become part of Apple TV Plus, with Matthew Belloni of Puck News (opens in new tab) even claiming that the deal is now “Apple’s to lose." Belloni even suggests that an agreement between Apple and the NFL may already be “done” and its official announcement is only being delayed at the request of Apple.
Belloni writes: “My sources say it's Apple's to lose, at this point. (One source told me this weekend that the deal is actually done and is being kept quiet at Apple's request, which I haven't confirmed and don't know for a fact; Apple isn't commenting.) That would make sense: Even after winning top Emmys and the best picture Oscar, C.E.O. Tim Cook has said Apple is merely in its early days of premium video, and nothing is more premium than NFL football.”
Apple TV Plus entering the world of the NFL seems like a natural next step for the rapidly expanding streaming service. In March, Apple confirmed it had secured the rights to Friday Night Baseball after inking a deal with Major League Baseball. MLB games were broadcast on Apple TV Plus for the first time earlier this month, with the streaming platform offering a baseball doubleheader every Friday night through the regular season.
Scoring NFL Sunday Ticket would be a much, much bigger boon for Apple TV Plus, but it would come at an eye-watering cost. Sunday Ticket currently airs on DirecTV, but this $1.5 billion deal expires at the end of the 2022 season. It’s expected that the rights for the 2023 season will fetch around $2.5 billion. This figure is unlikely to deter Apple, as the company has already displayed its willingness to invest heavily in streaming.
If Apple does secure the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket it would allow out-of-market fans to watch non-prime time games from all 32 NFL teams via Apple TV Plus. Curiously, in order to access the service’s baseball offering, you don’t actually need to pay for a $4.99 a month Apple TV Plus subscription (opens in new tab). The games are currently broadcast for free, but only for a limited time. It remains to be seen if Apple would allow limited-time access to NFL Sunday Ticket.
Apple TV Plus is rapidly becoming one of the best streaming services currently available. For a while, it had little to offer beyond its most successful show, Ted Lasso. But thanks to an influx of fresh content including sleeper hit Severance and awards-winning movies like CODA, it’s becoming a service that is pretty hard to ignore. Apple TV Plus’ growing expansion into live sporting events makes its relatively low monthly subscription cost even more of a bargain.
Apple TV Plus doesn't have, though, any rights for the NFL Draft 2022 live stream, though it's available on three different channels.