Report: Apple to bid on NFL Thursday Night Football streaming rights

Apple plans to put in a bid for NFL Thursday Night Football streaming rights, according to a new report from Variety. A report late last year indicated that the NFL was accepting bids for streaming rights for the package, having sent formal requests for proposals to several major digital media players, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Yahoo — although it was unclear at the time whether Apple actually had any plans to submit a bid in response to the RFP. In the process of announcing two-year TV broadcast deals with CBS and NBC for the package earlier this week, the league also noted that it is “in active discussions with prospective digital partners” for global streaming rights to the same games. Although the league declined to comment on which companies it is specifically in discussions with, multiple sources indicate that Apple is among those looking to put in bids.
Notably, the league is said to be considering several different scenarios for packaging the digital rights, and it’s unclear at this time whether the rights would be sold exclusively to one company or split among more than one distributor, or if the rights will involve overseas games. Certainly, exclusive streaming rights would be worth more than rights shared with another distributor. Sources suggest that Apple’s bid for the NFL Thursday Night Football digital rights would likely fit into Apple’s planned television streaming service, although the company apparently hasn’t entirely determined how it would present the games. Apple and the NFL declined to comment on the talks.

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