Google is said to have entered the bidding for NFL Sunday Ticket, which already has a competitive field of contenders including Apple, Amazon and Disney/ESPN.
According to New York TimesGoogle is bidding on behalf of its YouTube unit for the NFL’s popular out-of-market games package, which is breaking free from its old ties to DirecTV after the upcoming season.
The winning bidder is thought to pay more than $2.5 billion a year to acquire the rights to the package, which delivers every NFL regular season game to viewers not played in their city.
DirecTV, which has controlled the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket since the mid-1990s, is reportedly losing up to $500 million a year on the package, which costs just under $300 per season.
However, NFL Sunday Ticket has held steady for DirecTV at around 2 million subscribers, making it a key anchor at a time when the pay-TV service has suffered heavy customer losses due to the shutdown. cord.
For months, Apple has reportedly had the inside lane, with an expert declaring the biggest of all tech giants the impending winner of the spring bid.
In his Sunday report, the New York Times confirms Apple’s willingness to acquire the asset, noting that CEO Tim Cook has even taken meetings with league owners, including the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones and the Kraft family, who control the New England Patriots.
The Times also spoke with former Disney CEO Bob Iger, who lamented the notion of tech giants, which have much deeper pockets to allow live sports simply for “the commitment of the platform” they provide, and not beholden to the same seriousness of rating points and advertisers. what are traditional media companies.
“It’s tough when you’re competing against entities that don’t follow the same financial rules,” Iger said.
Meanwhile, the NFL continues to covet live TV’s biggest remaining draw.
“A number of companies are in a strong position to potentially land the Sunday Ticket, but we still have some way to go in this process,” Brian Rolapp, NFL director of media and affairs, said in a statement.