The NFL plans to award the coveted rights to its “Sunday Ticket” package to a major streaming service – with the victor to be determined by this fall, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday.

Goodell addressed Sunday Ticket’s future while he and other moguls in the tech, media and business sectors converged at the Sun Valley Conference. The NFL commissioner noted that discussions have been underway for more than a year.

“It’s an important decision for us because these assets are really valuable to us,” Goodell told CNBC. “I clearly believe we’ll be moving to a streaming service. I think that’s best for the consumers at this stage, but we have so much interest right now.”

“I think we’ll probably have some decision by the fall,” he added.

Satellite TV giant DirecTV controlled rights to the “Sunday Ticket” package for more than two decades and paid an annual price of $1.5 billion for the right to air the weekly slate of NFL games. The current deal expires after the 2022 season.

Speculation has mounted in recent years that the NFL could ditch its longtime partner in favor of a burgeoning streamer.

Streaming giants Apple and Amazon have already submitted bids for the rights to Sunday Ticket, as has ESPN parent Disney, CNBC reported last month. The NFL is said to be seeking more than $2 billion per year for the rights, with the victor also receiving a stake in NFL Media.

Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell said talks on NFL Sunday Ticket rights have been underway for more than a year.
Getty Images

The NFL already has ties to Amazon, which holds streaming rights to its Thursday Night Football package.

Regardless of which platform the NFL selects, the $300 per year price tag for consumers is likely to remain largely unchanged due to contractual obligations with the league’s TV partners, according to the outlet.

Goodell addressed what a collaboration with a tech giant, such as Apple or Amazon, rather than traditional broadcast partners like ESPN, would mean for the platform’s future.

NFL Sunday Ticket
DirecTV has controlled rights to NFL Sunday Ticket for more than two decades.

“Right now, we’re on a linear service through DirecTV and it’s worked really well for us, but we really believe that these new platforms give us an ability to innovate beyond where we are today and make the experience for our consumers so much better.”

The commissioner said a deal with a streamer would help the NFL in its goal of reaching younger viewers. Goodell added that the NFL plans to launch its own streaming platform, dubbed NFL+, by this fall.


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Tyler Cowan