Apple passes on bid for NFL streaming rights


Apple TV won't be streaming football this year.
Apple TV won't be streaming football this year.
Photo: NFL

As it turns out, Apple is not ready for some football.

The iPhone-maker was expected to be among a number of tech giants bidding for the streaming rights to 18 regular season football games this year, but it appears the company has decided to pass on the option to bid, figuring it wouldn’t be a big enough draw for the Apple TV platform. 

“Apple, which could use something dramatic to set its Apple TV box apart from the competition, has determined that this package isn’t enough to pull that off, and isn’t bidding,” reports Recode’s Peter Kafka, citing industry execs familiar the bidding process.

Other companies bidding for the streaming rights include Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo and Verizon, which already has the rights to NFL mobile streaming. Apple did not comment on the negotiations.

Whoever does win will have to part with some serious cash. Online streaming right for a single game last season cost Yahoo $20 million dollars. That could start the bidding around $360 million or more, unless the NFL gives out an unlikely bulk discount. NBC and CBS paid $225 million each to televise and stream 5 games on their networks and online.

The bidding process is expected to be wrapped up by March 20th when the NFL owner’s meeting gets underway in Florida.

  • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

    I really thought American football was huge in the U.S. but Apple thinks it won’t be big enough of a draw. I’m willing to bet for whatever company gets that contract the news media is going to make a big deal out of it and rub Apple’s nose in it for passing on it. I’m not sure what to say about this as an Apple shareholder but I do hope Apple is making a wise choice by not bidding.

  • Grits n Gravy

    While it would be huge, I’m pretty sure the deal would heavily favor the NFL vs whoever ends up with the rights and they’d have to make money hand over fist in order to turn a profit on the deal.

  • lcfbill

    18 games only? So this was not for an all-the-games package like Sunday Ticket. Then I agree that it is not that big a deal.
    The NFL should get with the 21st Century and sell its games to anyone through any channel. They would make more money than they do through exclusives like Sunday Ticket with Direct TV (which I cannot get due to line of sight).

  • Tjosansa

    Good news Apple dont waste money on sports.