Apple Seeking Multi-Billion Dollar NFL Media and Broadcasting Deal: Report
Apple is currently trying to strike a multibillion-dollar deal with the National Football League (NFL) for all of its currently available media and broadcasting rights in the U.S. — reports Front Office Sports.
At this time, the NFL is marketing three assets: an equity stake in NFL Media (which includes NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and NFL.com), the ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ package comprising out-of-market games, and the rights to live-streaming games on mobile devices.
The news comes from sources close to the matter and follows reports from last year of Apple being in talks with the NFL for its Sunday Ticket games. It looks like the tech giant has become significantly more ambitious since then.
According to the sources, Apple is looking to bundle all of the NFL’s current offerings into one sweeping deal. “Apple is thinking very big. They want to roll them all up into one big NFL package,” said one source.
While a 2016 report said Apple was vying for streaming rights to the NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ games, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has historically steered clear of sports. This deal, however, could not only change that but also make Apple one of the NFL’s biggest business partners overnight.
The ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ package alone will fetch $2-2.5 billion USD, and Apple appears to be the frontrunner for the sale. However, the NFL has not agreed to an expansive deal for all three assets as of yet.
The league is certainly intrigued about getting into business with the world’s most valuable company, though, according to sources. If the deal Apple wants goes through, the company will also pull one over rival Amazon, which is currently leading the bidding to buy up to 49% of NFL Media.
“I can definitely see why [Apple] would be attractive for the NFL,” said sports media consultant Ed Desser.
“You do have to question Apple’s pedigree in sports: It’s not exactly their thing. But that’s the sort of thing you can buy or develop. Even Amazon, the first few years it carried ‘Thursday Night Football,’ used somebody else’s feed, not Amazon employees.”
In Canada, NFL broadcasting rights belong to Bell Media, including the Super Bowl.
Apple doesn’t have a history in sports, but the company is steadily incorporating sports into its content strategy. Late last year, the tech giant acquired a 4-part docuseries on NBA legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, slated to start streaming in April.
Apple is also reportedly nearing a deal for broadcast rights to the MLB’s weekday national games.
After a stellar financial 2021, Apple currently has more than $200 billion in cash and marketable securities at its disposal for possible deals. That’s more than the market capitalization of Netflix — and double what Amazon has to spend in cash and marketable securities.