“The National Football League is shopping digital rights for ‘Thursday Night Football’ games — and tech giants Apple, Amazon.com, Google and Verizon’s Go90 are each expected to try to get in on the action, according to industry sources,” Todd Spangler reports for Variety.

“On Monday, the NFL announced two-year TV broadcast deals with CBS and NBC to divvy up the Thursday matches, with each network securing rights to five. CBS for the last two seasons had rights to eight ‘Thursday Night Football’ games,” Spangler reports. “In announcing the TV deals, the league said it is ‘in active discussions with prospective digital partners’ for global over-the-top streaming rights to the same games.”

“The NFL didn’t say what companies those were, but multiple sources say Apple, Amazon, Google and Verizon Communications are among the players expected to put in bids for the marquee property,” Spangler reports. “The “Thursday Night Football” digital rights could be sold to more than one distributor, and the league is considering a variety of scenarios, including potentially mixing in games played overseas, according to one source familiar with the talks… Apple has been in the process of assembling an OTT service stocked with TV programming; the company is going after the NFL rights even though it hasn’t entirely determined how it would present the games, sources said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Make it happen, Apple. In fact, pay for the exclusive streaming rights. Apple TV-only. No Amazon, Google, Verizon or anybody else.

Don’t blow this one like you blew it when losing the deal for Clarkson, May and Hammond to Amazon. (Of course, Clarkson’s new post-Top Gear Amazon Prime show will be in 4K, so that wouldn’t have been so copacetic with Apple’s needlessly-hamstrung, non-futureproofed, inexplicably non-4K Apple TV anyway.) What’d be funny — or sad depending on your POV — would be if the NFL required 4K playback capability for the TNF deal.

Anyway, as we opined back in May 2014:

Perhaps Cook should consider bidding for and winning NFL Sunday Ticket away from Direct TV, buying rights to Premiere League and La Liga games, etc. and making them Apple TV exclusives. Go directly to the sports leagues with boatlods of cash. Maybe that’ll grease the wheels. It’ll certainly move a bunch of Apple TV boxes around the world in short order.

SEE ALSO:
The Super Bowl that killed cable: NFL streams the big game on Apple TV, no cable or satellite account required – February 4, 2016
Apple, Amazon, Google, Yahoo expected to bid on NFL Thursday Night Football – December 16, 2015
NFL Thursday Night Football rights could be worth a quarter of a trillion to Apple (or Amazon) – December 8, 2015
Apple could make $15 billion from winning the rights to NFL Thursday Night Football – November 27, 2015

Jeremy Clarkson confirms new post-Top Gear Amazon Prime show will be in 4K – November 20, 2015
Apple made ‘audacious bid’ for Top Gear trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May, but lost out to Bezos’ Amazon – September 1, 2015
Apple’s move into content creation could devastate Netflix and Amazon
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why would Apple want to make their own movies and TV shows? – September 1, 2015
Apple exploring entry into original entertainment production – August 31, 2015
Top Gear’s Clarkson, Hammond and May sign with Amazon Prime for new show to debut in 2016 – July 30, 2015

Apple TV and the 4K Ultra HD conundrum – October 8, 2015
Amazon embarrasses Apple with new 4K Fire TV box or something – September 17, 2015
Amazon unveils $100 Fire TV box 4K video support, Alexa voice control – September 17, 2015
With the all-new Apple TV, Apple changes the game, yet again – September 14, 2015
Analyst: Apple TV streaming service on the way, could cost at least $40 a month – September 14, 2015
Local media streaming app Plex coming to Apple TV – September 14, 2015
What Apple got right in Apple TV’s user interface – and what needs work – September 11, 2015
New Apple TV has the potential to do for television what iPhone did for mobile phones – September 11, 2015
Apple preps to conquer living room with all-new Apple TV – September 11, 2015
Hands-on with the all-new Apple TV – September 10, 2015
Gruber: Apple TV will define how all TVs will work in a few years – September 10, 2015
Here’s how much RAM is inside Apple’s iPhone 6s/Plus, iPad Pro and new Apple TV – September 10, 2015
New Apple TV sounds great, but where’s the 4K? – September 10, 2015