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NFL Sunday Ticket: “We’ll Be Moving to a Streaming Service”

Patrick Mahomes
(Image credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

 SUN VALLEY, Idaho—NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has told CNBC that “I clearly believe we'll be moving to a streaming service” for the NFL Sunday Ticket rights and that their NFL+ streaming service will start for this season, with an announcement on pricing and other details “in a few weeks.”

The Sunday Ticket rights to all out of market NFL games had been held for many years by DirecTV. Apple, Amazon, Disney/ESPN are currently bidding on the package. CNBC has reported that the NFL is looking for more than $2 billion for the package. (opens in new tab) 

When asked by CNBC what it would mean “to be partnered with the likes of an Apple or an Amazon, to have those rights to a tech giant, and not to the likes of an ESPN Plus?” Goodell didn’t rule out working with ESPN, but stated that they were considering three platforms, which presumably referred to Amazon, Apple and Disney/ESPN. 

“Right now you know, we're on a video service to DirecTV,” Goodell said. “And it's, it's worked very well for us. But we really believe that these three platforms give us an ability to innovate beyond where we are today and make the experience for our consumers so much better. So it obviously makes it more available to our consumers and particularly the younger demographic is one that we really want to get to….this will make it more accessible for the fans. I think it would be a better experience for fans. And we're excited to see more and more games available on these streaming services."

Goodell also downplayed the impact this could have on linear TV ratings. 

“We had quite a bit [of streaming] last year….NBC would have their games on Peacock, of course and CBS on Paramount Plus and ESPN Plus and ABC. And we think that's consistent with our philosophy, which is to make our game available in the broadest possible platforms to be able to engage our fans the deepest way and I think that's consistent that we haven't seen it that hurt any of those platforms, because we think they're different users. We think that people who are watching on the streaming service aren't watching on television. So it's adding to our audience.”

“And that's really the focus we have for Amazon Prime,” Goodell continued. “This is the first time in 35 years that we've changed a major carrier of our packages to a Thursday night package. And that's going to be available only on Amazon Prime…..So that's a very big focus for us during the season.”

In terms of their direct-to-consumer service, Goodell said “we think it's very important to have a relationship directly with the consumer. We have a lot of content and a lot of ability to be able to do that. Consumers want it and so we're very excited about what the NFL Plus is going to be.”

He added that the service will be in place for the upcoming season but said details on pricing and other issues would not be made public for “a few weeks.”

The full interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin is available here (opens in new tab)

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.