The NFL is looking for a new partner to host Thursday Night Football, and it appears that Apple may be gunning to make an interception from Yahoo and Google.
Traditional networks like CBS, ESPN, Fox, and NBC were all informed by the NFL that it is ready to accept bid for broadcasting rights to its Thursday Night Football package, but the league also notified Apple that it can bid for a non-exclusive streaming deal for Apple TV and iOS users.
“The league also sent RFPs to several digital companies, like Google, Yahoo, Apple and Amazon, to stream the entire Thursday night schedule on a non-exclusive basis,” reports SportsDailyBusiness. “The league’s initial plan would have the digital streams serve as a simulcast of the television production — with the same ads and in-game production features.”
Adding the option to stream Thursday Night Football could be a great way for Apple to get more customers to buy the new Apple TV. Games could be sold on an individual or seasonal basis through iTunes and Apple TV, or Apple could just give away access for free as a marketing promotion.
Yahoo purchased exclusive rights to stream one game this season, paying around $15 million. NFL Network CEO Brian Rolapp revealed in a recent interview that the league is looking to bring a ‘heavy digital component’ to Thursday games. If Apple doesn’t buy up the rights, we expect Amazon and Google will be more than happy to scoop up the fumble.