Apple in Negotiations with NFL for Streaming Rights of “Thursday Night Football”

Apple in Negotiations with NFL for Streaming Rights of "Thursday Night Football"
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According to a recent report by Variety, Apple is contending for streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. The company is in negotiations alongside competitors Google, Amazon and Verizon.

If successful, it would be a huge victory for Apple’s negotiation team who has infamously been unsuccessful in negotiating deals with other content providers for their rumored, but still absent, streaming TV service.

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The NFL is among the most profitable organizations in the world, so a deal for the high caliber content would be a big win for Apple. Last year, Yahoo was given rights to stream one NFL game worldwide which attracted a whopping 15.2 million viewers. Apple has not been shy about its plans to revolutionize television, and this kind of exposure would be a massive step forward towards relevance in the TV world. Apple has been credited with transforming the music industry and the company seems to be making efforts to do the same with television.

The NFL recently inked deals with CBS and NBC dividing the television rights to Thursday Night Football, but for the growing number of cord cutters out there, streaming rights are still available. After the deal with CBS and NBC was announced, the NFL stated they are “in active discussions with prospective digital partners”, and they expect to ink a deal in the coming weeks. For NFL fans who haven’t had cable for years and only use Apple hardware, it sure would be convenient for Apple to win the streaming rights of Thursday night NFL games.

Obviously, if you are already a cable subscriber, you will have access to stream games via CBS and NBC’s mobile applications with your cable log-in. However, the company who comes out on top of the digital streaming negotiations will most likely not require any sort of cable log-in.

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Apple has yet to made it clear how it would present the NFL games should they win the rights. It’s possible the games would be an exclusive draw to the company’s streaming TV service, which is anticipated to be released sometime this year. Apple has provided similar exclusive streaming content to Apple Music.

For example, fans of Taylor Swift can exclusively stream her albums on Apple’s streaming music service, which are not available on competing services like Spotify. However, Apple has had trouble negotiating deals for its streaming TV service, so I’m not holding my breath, but exclusive rights to stream NFL content would be a major incentive to loads of people.

Of course there are plenty of high profile individuals, such as ESPN President John Skipper, who have expressed support and confidence in Apple’s upcoming streaming TV service, so I anticipate the service being a success when it is released. When, however, is the million-dollar question. Apple’s streaming TV service has been rumored for years now, but here’s to hoping the service will finally see the light of day this year.

It’s worth noting that if you want to fool with an antennae, the rabbit ears will pick up local CBS and NBC affiliates for most people allowing you to watch games the old fashion way, but being able to access games anywhere via your Apple device would be a convenient and mobile option.

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[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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