NFL to select new Sunday Ticket partner by fall, commissioner Roger Goodell says

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL Football game between the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts on October 3, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

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The National Football League plans to select a streaming service as its new Sunday Ticket partner and will pick a winner by the fall, commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday.

“I definitely believe we’re going to move to a streaming service,” Goodell told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin in an exclusive interview at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference. “I think it’s better for consumers at this point.”

Apple, Amazon and Disney, which owns ESPN+, have all submitted offers to be the league’s exclusive Sunday Ticket distributor, CNBC reported last month. Goodell confirmed talks have been ongoing for more than a year to find a new partner to replace DirecTV, whose contract with the league ends after this season.

Sunday Ticket is the only way for fans to watch live NFL games on Sunday afternoons outside of what’s shown in their local markets on CBS and FOX. DirecTV paid $1.5 billion for annual rights. The NFL now wants more than $2 billion a year, CNBC reported.

Contractual language with CBS and Fox would prevent any streaming service from charging fans much less than the current $300 Sunday Ticket cost, CNBC reported.

DirecTV is not offering to renew the package but is prepared to partner with the winner, CNBC reported. In its current agreement with the NFL, DirecTV requires customers who sign up for Sunday Ticket to also sign up for its pay-TV service, with rare exceptions.. This requirement will disappear with a new streaming service partner, potentially opening up Sunday Ticket to a much wider audience.

Goodell noted that many people who watch games on a streaming service do not subscribe to traditional pay-TV, allowing the league to capture a wider audience by moving Sunday Ticket to a digital provider.

“We really believe these new platforms give us the ability to innovate where we are today,” Goodell said. “That obviously makes it more accessible to our consumers, especially young people, who are the ones we really want to reach. I think that will make it more accessible to fans. I think it will be a better experience for fans.”

NFL+ confirmed

Goodell also confirmed that the league will launch its own streaming service, called NFL+, in time for the upcoming season in September. He didn’t provide details on pricing or what will be available on the service, but he did point out that NFL+ content will likely improve over time.

“It’s really early stage,” Goodell said. “I think over the years it will continue to grow. It will be an important strategy for us going forward.”

Sports Business Journal reported in May that NFL+ is set to launch later this month.

WATCH: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to CNBC’s Julia Boorstin at Sun Valley

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