Amazon and Disney 'in play for NFL Sunday Ticket package'
Amazon, the online retail giant, and Walt Disney, the US entertainment giant, have emerged as the favourites to replace DirecTV, the US satellite broadcaster, as the home of American football’s NFL Sunday Ticket service, which offers live coverage of Sunday afternoon games outside of local markets.
Last month, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, outlined the league’s plans to revamp the Sunday Ticket package to entice digital operators.
DirecTV is presently paying $1.5 billion per year for the rights to the Sunday Ticket service, in a deal that runs until 2022. The service launched in 1994.
However, recent tensions between the NFL and AT&T, the US telecoms giant which owns DirecTV, could lead to Amazon or Disney landing the rights, NBC Sports has reported.
AT&T recently pulled the NFL Network from its DirecTV Now and U-Verse TV platforms after failing to reach an agreement with the league to continue carrying the channel.
The NFL has the option to opt out of the Sunday Ticket contract with DirecTV after the 2019-20 season.
The league initially wanted to maintain its long-running relationship with DirecTV but that is now in danger of coming to an end due to the latest developments with AT&T.
Amazon has already streamed Thursday night NFL games globally for the past two seasons and ESPN, the Walt Disney owned sports network, holds the rights to the NFL’s Monday Night Football broadcast.
Disney is hoping to bolster its ESPN+ streaming service with the addition of the Sunday Ticket package.
The NFL has also considered digital giants Google and Netflix for a streaming deal, but discussions with both parties was “on and off”, according to NBC Sports.
DAZN, the international over-the-top live sports streaming platform that launched in USA last September, was also believed to be in the running.