Disney, Apple and Amazon continue to wait while the NFL reviews ticket offers on Sunday

Disney, Apple and Amazon continue to wait while the NFL reviews ticket offers on Sunday
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DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks during a meeting with DIRECTV NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscribers at the DIRECTV NFL SUNDAY TICKET Lounge on Saturday, February. 1, 2020, Miami, FL.

Peter Barreras | AP

Disney, apple and amazon The National Football League’s Off-Market Sunday Ticket Package submitted all bids for the new broadcast rights. They are just waiting to find out who won.

According to people familiar with the issue, the three companies submitted proposals weeks ago. The NFL is in talks with all three contenders to decide which partner to choose, said people who did not want to be named because the talks were private.

The NFL wants any buyer to pay more than $ 2 billion for rights and stakes in NFL Media, packed with a Sunday ticket, three people said. The NFL’s mobile rights may have been part of the package since before Mobile contract with Verizon it’s over

DirectTV was paying $ 1.5 billion a year For Sunday Tickets for existing rights ending after the upcoming 2022-23 season. NFL It boosted 100% growth For the main game packages last year, however, the league has little chance of winning $ 3 billion for Sunday Ticket, which has historically lost money to DirecTV, sources said.

Many observers, including some plaintiffs, said they were surprised that the deal had not yet been reached. The delay is due to a mix of assets and related partnership negotiations that ended in the deal, the two said. If the discussions had focused only on Sunday tickets, an agreement would probably have been reached, one person said.

There is no urgency in the announcement as DirecTV will now offer Sunday Tickets for next season. The bidders want to make the deal sooner rather than later because they want enough time to notify consumers on Sunday that the ticket holder will change.

Amazon, Apple, Disney and NFL spokesmen declined to comment.

The role of DirecTV

DirecTV required all Sunday ticket holders to become DirecTV customers. This condition will no longer apply to this new contract by opening a package to many new subscribers who are not afraid to spend hundreds of dollars on the package because they no longer want DirecTV.

DirecTV does not offer a tender for the current rights package, but is ready to terminate the contract with the winning buyer, two people said. If an agreement is reached, the winning stream can reduce the financial burden for the platform.

DirecTV is interested in connecting with bars and restaurants. Sunday tickets are a staple in sports bars that use a game package to attract fans of non-local games, many of whom have no other way to watch their favorite teams. Sunday tickets are also popular among sports gamblers who want to see several games at the same time.

DirecTV will also consider operating as a settlement. Under such an agreement, he can transfer all proceeds from the Sunday ticket to the right holder, but can still offer it to customers. This will allow DirecTV to reduce consumption while reducing switching costs for consumers. It will also stop any potential streaming delays or reliability issues that may arise in connection with live football broadcasts over broadband internet.

However, it is not clear whether the winning bidder will be interested in such a partnership. Establishing business connections can be an incentive for Disney, Apple or Amazon, and the winner may want to connect directly to all Sunday Ticket subscribers.

ATT turned Last year DirectTV. AT&T and private equity firm TPG are now a private independent company. When AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015, Sunday Ticket Rights were so important that the entire $ 49 billion deal It depended on renewing his long-term contract with the NFL. However, according to an acquaintance, less than 2 million subscribers usually join the package every year, which costs the Sunday Ticket to a satellite TV provider who is no longer interested in bidding for full rights.

A DirecTV spokesman declined to comment.

Various obstacles

While Amazon has already acquired exclusive Friday Night Football rights and Disney’s ESPN owns Monday Night Football, Apple will represent a new global partner for the NFL – with the world’s largest corporate balance sheet. This is attractive for the NFL because it potentially brings a new contender to the table for future contract negotiations.

Apple has demonstrated its ability to broadcast live sports by releasing Major League Baseball games this year, although some fans, especially seniors, complained about the exclusive streaming package. Apple also agreed to broadcast Major League Soccer games in a 10-year deal announced earlier this month. amazon It will be the first exclusive streaming provider for NFL games when he started carrying Night Football on Thursday this year.

Apple wants to have global rights to Sunday’s ticket, two people said. The NFL has not reached a stage in its discussions with Apple to decide whether to give them to the company or sell them separately, one of the people said. DirecTV currently has only US rights.

It is also unclear whether Apple or Amazon are interested in acquiring a minority stake in NFL Media, which includes the NFL Network and RedZone cable networks and the digital site Both technology companies may show little interest in the old paid television business, ie bleeding to millions of subscribers every year. But if the league closes the Sunday Ticket to the NFL Media transaction, both companies could bite the bullet to reach an agreement.

One person said it was possible that the league might decide to sell its stake in NFL Media separately.

According to people familiar with the issue, the buyer will have limited flexibility in terms of price.

When the NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox, the deal included the language that made Sunday’s ticket so expensive that three people said Sunday afternoon games obtained by broadcasters would not attract more eyeballs from the local market.

This means that any Sunday ticket holder will not be able to significantly reduce the price of an off-market package, which typically costs about $ 300 a year. It also prevents an existing streaming service, such as ESPN +, from simply adding a Sunday ticket at little or no additional cost to increase subscribers.

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