According to a CNBC report, Amazon is the front runner to acquire rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which airs all Sunday NFL games, allowing subscribers to watch any game they want. The package has been exclusive to Directv for the last 27 years, but that deal expires after the 2022-23 season.
Amazon already has a deal to air Thursday night NFL games for its Amazon Prime streaming service. Adding the NFL Sunday ticket package would further highlight the shifting TV landscape to streaming services from traditional pay-TV.
The move won’t be cheap. The NFL is expected to command around $2.5 billion per year for the package, and that would be in addition to the $1 billion Amazon has already committed for NFL content.
According to the CNBC report, no deal is imminent and other parties are still interested, including Disney/ESPN and perhaps even Apple. Directv is not completely out of the running either.
The company recently spun out of AT&T, but odds are low that it will renew its NFL package. It reportedly loses money on the deal and may not have the financial horsepower to continue, especially when compared to a behemoth like Amazon.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told CNBC that its Sunday Ticket package “maybe will be more attractive on a digital platform.” Amazon has over 200 million subscribers to its Prime service, which makes them eligible for Prime Video. It’s not entirely clear how many actually use Prime Video.
Amazon is building a deep business relationship with the NFL. In addition to securing rights deals for NFL games, Amazon’s AWS unit partners with the NFL for the Next Gen Stats project. That deal has AWS storing and analyzing statistics for every NFL player and play.
Amazon has demonstrated it’s not afraid to spend money on content for its Prime Video service. In addition to the billions it may spend for NFL content, the company also is in the process of acquiring MGM Studios for $8.5 billion.