Apple looks to secure streaming rights for NFL Thursday Night Football

“The National Football League is shopping digital rights for ‘Thursday Night Football’ games — and tech giants Apple,, 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.

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  1. While this is probably a good test…. unless your team is playing, you most likely won’t be watching.. CBS didn’t move The Big Bang Theory to Monday for NFL Thursday night, only to move TBB BACK to Thursday because a gazillion people were watching the Thurs night games….

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