Apple’s long-rumored deal for NFL Sunday Ticket may not happen this year after all. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this summer that the NFL expected to pick where the lucrative broadcasting rights would land by the fall. But with less than a week until winter and a little over two weeks left in the year, it seems increasingly unlikely that an NFL Sunday Ticket deal will be done before 2023.
A new report from Sportico has some updates about the status of the next deal. Negotiations are at “a very critical point” for the NFL, Goodell apparently said Wednesday, though he also noted that “our decisions are not based on timelines.” Apple is still expected to get the rights, but one of its requests would be a giant ask: the company apparently wants NFL Sunday Ticket to be included with Apple TV Plus, which costs $6.99 per month, at no extra cost. That would be far more generous than Apple and MLS’s imminent streaming service, which is an additional subscription, though it has a slight discount if you already have Apple TV Plus.
Other tech giants are interested in NFL Sunday Ticket, including Amazon, which is currently in the first year of its 11-year Thursday Night Football contract; Disney, which owns ESPN and ESPN Plus; and Google, which operates YouTube and YouTube TV. However, it seems like they are currently not strong candidates for the deal. DirecTV is in the final season of its previous deal for the package.
This isn’t the only recent report about how Apple and the NFL’s negotiations have slowed to a crawl. But now it seems like we won’t know where you’ll watch NFL Sunday Ticket next season until sometime in the new year. In the meantime, at least there’s the Apple Music-sponsored Super Bowl halftime show to look forward to.