Big Tech Companies are Interested in Live Sports
By: Vivona Xu
Big tech companies such as Amazon and Apple are putting themselves into competitive negotiations for the media rights to stream live sports.
Amazon and Apple are eager to boost viewership on their streaming service, so they are competing for the rights to N.F.L. Sunday Ticket to replace DirecTV, a sports package that allows football fans to watch live out-of-market NFL games every Sunday afternoon.
After the 2022 sports season, DirecTV will not have the rights to N.F.L Sunday Ticket. This opened a position for the ability of streaming live sports, and it attracted three top bidders: Disney, Apple, and Amazon.
The N.F.L. ideally wants to sell Sunday Ticket for more than $2.5 billion annually and a stake in N.F.L. Media. However, the N.F.L. reported that they are “not in a rush to make a decision as DirecTV has the rights to the package for one more season.”
Amazon, Apple, and Google’s, newfound interest for sports leagues is a terror for media companies as there will be new competition. These tech companies are worthy rivals as they have already amassed billions of dollars from dominant positions in other businesses.
“It’s hard when you’re competing with entities that aren’t playing by the same financial rules,” said Bob Iger, the former chief executive and chairman of the Walt Disney Company, which controls ESPN, referring to tech companies’ bankroll.
Subscription prices may change to watch live sports, because Apple and Amazon are trying to position themselves for a future without cable. This means, sports fans will most likely have to pay a premium to add live streaming of sports onto Apple, Hulu, Amazon, and other apps.
The price to own the rights of live sports are constantly increasing. Big media companies including Disney, Comcast, Paramount, and Fox are speculated to spend a total of $24.2 billion all together for sports rights in 2024. The amount was nearly double than what they spent a decade ago.
For now, Apple has been voted by sports fans to be the front-runner of the rights to N.F.L Sunday Ticket. Live sports have increased in popularity, and it has attracted companies from other fields of business.
NFL Sunday Ticket is the Crown Jewel of the Streaming Wars, and Tim Cook Wants It | Observer
Report: 3 bidders for NFL Sunday Ticket revealed (larrybrownsports.com)
Why Big Tech Is Making a Big Play for Live Sports - The New York Times (nytimes.com)