August 21, 2013
Google could be getting into the NFL business by taking away DirecTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” package following the 2014 football season. CNET has now weighed in with another option. It thinks that Apple should buy the rights. What a fantastic idea. It’s no secret that Apple is working on something new in terms of digital media. Whether this is an actual Apple television or something else is unknown, of course. Regardless, signing a distribution contract with the NFL would go a long way to making the service popular with the masses. As CNET notes, Apple already airs professional baseball, hockey, and basketball games on the Apple TV. However, none of these are as popular in America as football. According to AllThingsD, Google is interested in securing the rights to the Sunday package beginning with the 2015 season. Most likely, Google would offer the games as part of a premium YouTube subscription. Securing a deal with Apple would be a better solution, especially for the NFL. The Apple TV, like DirecTV is a hardware-based service. As such, Apple could give the NFL a cut of each box sold, in addition to part of the subscription fee. Yes, Google’s new Chromecast could provide the NFL with hardware revenues. At least at this point, however, the Apple TV is more recognizable and easier to explain to most people. More importantly, Apple could offer mobile service exclusively on the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. This exclusivity is the main reason I think the NFL would find Apple to be a better choice. NFL Sunday Ticket has always been about bringing a unique service to a core group of fans at a premium price. Want Sunday Ticket? Subscribe to DirecTV or visit the nearest bar. Moving NFL Sunday Ticket to YouTube would cheapen the brand and make it less special. This is something that I’m sure the NFL wouldn't want to do. It will be interesting to see where this ends up. It could be that the NFL keeps its Sunday package at DirecTV. Or they may be seeking a change and move it elsewhere Stay tuned.