NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during an NFL football game between the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts on October 3, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Andrew Bershaw | Sports wire icon | Getty Images
The National Football League plans to select the streaming service as its new Sunday ticketing partner and will select a winner by the fall, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday.
“I definitely believe we will move to a streaming service,” Goodell told CNBC’s Julia Burstyn in an exclusive interview on Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference. “I think it’s better for consumers at this stage.”
Apple, Amazon as well as disney, which owns ESPN+, have submitted all bids to become the league’s exclusive Sunday ticket distributor, CNBC reported last month. Goodell confirmed that negotiations have been underway for more than a year to find a new partner to replace DirecTV, whose contract with the league ends after this season.
The Sunday Ticket is the only way fans can watch NFL Sunday afternoon games live in addition to what’s airing in their local markets on CBS and FOX. DirecTV paid $1.5 billion for the annual rights. Now the NFL wants over $2 billion a year, according to CNBC.
Contractual language with CBS and Fox will prevent any streaming service from charging fans significantly less than the current $300 Sunday ticket price, according to CNBC.
DirecTV does not claim to renew the package, but is ready to cooperate with the winner, according to CNBC. In its current agreement with the NFL, DirecTV requires customers who subscribe to the Sunday Ticket to also subscribe to the pay-TV service, with few exceptions.. That requirement will disappear with a new streaming service partner, potentially opening up access to the Sunday Ticket to a much wider audience.
Goodell noted that many people who watch games on the streaming service do not subscribe to traditional pay TV, allowing the league to reach a wider audience by outsourcing the Sunday Ticket to a digital provider.
“We really believe that these new platforms give us the ability to innovate where we are today,” said Goodell. “Obviously this makes it more accessible to our consumers, especially younger audiences, which is what we’re really aiming for. I think it will make it more accessible to fans. I think it will be the best experience for the fans.”
Goodell also confirmed that the league will launch its own streaming service called NFL+ for the upcoming season in September. He did not provide details on pricing or what will be available on the service, but stressed that NFL+ content is likely to improve over time.
“It’s really early on,” Goodell said. “I think it will continue to grow over the years. This will be an important strategy for us going forward.”
Sports Business Journal reported in May that NFL+ is expected to launch later this month.
WATCH: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell chats with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin in Sun Valley