NFL might create NFL+ streaming service

The Athletic got a scoop yesterday when it reported that the NFL might be planning to create its own streaming service, named, of course, NFL+.

Reporter Daniel Kaplan learned that teams were briefed about the development at the annual NFL owners’ meetings occurring in Palm Beach, Florida.

The potential new subscription streaming service would include NFL games as well as podcasts and other league content. It’s unclear when the service could become a reality. Kaplan’s source said the idea will likely come up again at an NFL meeting in May.

Meanwhile, the NFL has reportedly been negotiating with Apple and Amazon to land NFL Sunday Ticket, the league’s out-of-market games service, after its deal with DirecTV expires in 2023.

Whichever one wins the contract will likely pay more than $2 billion per year for exclusive streaming access to the package. DirecTV is reportedly negotiating an agreement that would let it continue selling Sunday Ticket to businesses like bars and restaurants. Disney is still in the mix, but is reportedly unwilling to pay as much as Apple or Amazon.

For Amazon, an NFL Sunday Ticket deal would extend the company’s streaming relationship with the league. Beginning with the 2022 season and running through 2033, Amazon Prime Video will be the only place to watch Thursday Night Football in what the NFL called its first all-digital package.

According to an article in NBC Sports, the NFL would be a bit hamstrung with a new streaming service because it’s already selling the rights to most of its live games via the Sunday Ticket and the Thursday night deal with Amazon. And live games are what viewers are most interested in.

“If NFL+ incorporates the mobile rights previously sold to the likes of Verizon and Yahoo — and made available to consumers for free — that could be a drawing card,” wrote NBC Sports. “An in-house streaming service also could be a great vehicle for Sunday Ticket, if the NFL ever decides to not sell the rights and instead markets the product directly to consumers.”