Amazon, ESPN+ and Peacock among NFL Sunday Ticket suitors: report

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(DirecTV)

Amazon Prime Video, ESPN+, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and DAZN are all said to be interested in NFL Sunday Ticket when the rights package goes up for bids.

According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, Sunday Ticket could end up being a digital package in its next iteration after years as a DirecTV add-on. While no formal talks have begun, many major sports streamers are already circling the package.

AT&T is reportedly not interested in renewing its DirecTV deal for Sunday Ticket, which offers out-of-market NFL games. According to the report, AT&T’s deal with the NFL is set to expire after the 2021 season but negotiations could pick up within the next few months.

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“When the league opens its Sunday Ticket negotiations, it should expect a lot of activity, especially since AT&T, which owns DirecTV, has made it clear that it’s willing to give up exclusivity, or possibly, the entire package altogether,” wrote Ourand. “Sources expect the Sunday Ticket to be primarily a digital service in its next deal.”

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According to Ourand, AT&T pays $1.5 billion per season for Sunday Ticket. It’s unclear how a digital distribution deal for the service might be structured.

Amazon already has a relationship with the NFL. Earlier this year the company renewed its deal to stream Thursday Night Football games on its Prime Video and Twitch platforms. Likewise, the NFL has existing relationships with ESPN and NBC.

For AT&T, ending its Sunday Ticket deal for DirecTV would seemingly fit with the company’s current video strategy that focuses on HBO Max and AT&T TV while de-emphasizing its traditional linear TV products, which could be divested soon. According to CNBC’s Alex Sherman, AT&T is speaking with private equity firms including Apollo Management – which has been circling DirecTV – about a deal to sell a minority stake in DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now.