Multiple sources have whispered to Variety that Apple plans to bid for the streaming rights of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” games. Alongside Apple, sources mentioned Amazon, Google, and Verizon’s Go90 as interested bidders.
The Variety report is a follow-up on news from last December indicating that the NFL was accepting bids for streaming rights and had sent a formal request-for-proposal to Apple, Google, Amazon, and Yahoo alongside its usual TV partners.
While at the time it was unclear how Apple would react to the proposal request, in the process of announcing two-year TV broadcast deals with CBS and NBS for the aforementioned package, the league said it was “in active discussions with prospective digital partners” for global over-the-top streaming rights to the same games.
While the league didn’t mention any names, Variety’s sources say Apple is among the interested parties.
It is worth adding that the league said it is considering various scenarios for packaging the digital rights, and at this point it is unclear whether it will choose a single company and grant it exclusivity, or split it among more distributors.
Considering that Apple is in the process of rolling out its Web TV service, grabbing NFL rights fits well within the company’s plans.