The NFL’s Sunday Ticket package is moving to streaming after nearly three decades on DirecTV.
“I clearly believe we will be moving to a streaming service,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told CNBC Friday, confirming longtime speculation about next steps for Sunday Ticket. “I think that’s best for consumers at this stage.”
Sunday Ticket is the only way fans can watch live NFL Sunday afternoon games outside of what’s being televised in their local markets on CBS and Fox.
DirecTV paid $1.5 billion for rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package in 2014. However, the current agreement expires at the end of the year, and the league now wants upwards of $2 billion a year for rights to the package.
A new deal for Sunday Ticket is expected to be completed this fall, and interest has mounted from streaming juggernauts Disney (which owns ESPN/ESPN+), Apple and Amazon. Through its livestreams of Thursday Night Football, a show it will have exclusive rights to in the fall, Amazon has strengthened ties with the NFL. Additionally, Apple recently demonstrated an interest in live sports, signing agreements for Major League Baseball games on Friday nights and a comprehensive Major League Soccer package.
In the interview, Goodell said Sunday Ticket games on streaming would be available to more people than simply DirecTV subscribers.
Furthermore, he noted the NFL is preparing to develop its own direct-to-consumer streaming service, which might include a wide range of video and archival content. The project, which he described as being in “early stage” development, is what the consumers want.