AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:
A bidding war is brewing between the world’s largest tech companies. Apple, Amazon and Google are all pushing to acquire the rights for the same service. And we’re not talking about an app or website. We’re talking about football, baby. The three tech giants are pushing to become the next home for NFL Sunday Ticket, a subscription package that lets fans watch every Sunday game live. John Ourand is a staff writer at the Sports Business Journal and he joins us now to explain why these companies are turning their attention to football. Welcome to the program.
JOHN OURAND: Thank you, Ayesha. Glad to be here.
RASCOE: So what exactly is this package that Apple, Amazon and Google – that they’re all fighting over?
OURAND: It’s called the NFL Sunday Ticket package, and they call it an out-of-market package. Let’s say you’re a football fan of the Minnesota Vikings and you happen to live in Tampa, Florida. This enables you to pay around $300, $400 and you’re guaranteed to see every single Minnesota Vikings game regardless of what’s shown on your regular broadcast channel. This is a package that DirecTV has held since it launched back in 1994. And the NFL and even DirecTV executives really credit this package for helping DirecTV become as big of a satellite distributor as it is by bringing a lot of young, well-heeled sports fans that really wanted all of this content. And now that relationship is coming to an end. DirecTV has said that it doesn’t want to pay as much as the NFL wants it to pay, which is about $2 billion a year.
RASCOE: How is this different than the, you know, the rights that the networks – Fox – already have? You know, my uncle – he’s a huge Giants fan, but he lives in Atlanta, so he can’t see the Giants games. Like, is that the difference? Like, you have to be, like, in-network for some of those?
OURAND: Well Ayesha, the Giants are going to be terrible this year. So your uncle…
RASCOE: No (laughter).
OURAND: Your uncle in Atlanta – he’s not going to be seeing any Giants games, just about, because the package that Fox has and that CBS has – they show the games locally, and they can’t show every single game. This package is for every single game that’s out there.
RASCOE: For people who, like me, don’t watch a lot of sports, they may not understand, like, why this is such a big deal.
OURAND: Right. Sunday Night Football has been the most popular prime-time show going on more than a decade. I think it’s had 11 consecutive years now, which …….