Two big stories from Sunday’s Superbowl. First, there was record sports betting on the game, both legally and illegally, with estimates as high as $6 billion. Now some of that action is coming from the seven states that have recently legalized sports wagering.
The second big story is that the NFL will be able to exercise its option to exit early from its current deal with DirecTV to broadcast the NFL Sunday Ticket in time for the 2020 season.
There are rumors that Amazon, Apple, Google and Twitter are looking to bid for the NFL Sunday Ticket to offer a streaming version of the package.
In 2014, the NFL turned down the highest offer from YouTube, which is owned by Google, for these same rights. This time they seem more willing to partner with a tech platform particularly to appeal to younger sports fans.
College sports media folks are watching these developments with interest because an aggressive bid by big tech companies could bode well for the conferences when their television contracts come up in a few years.
If big tech wins these NFL Sunday Ticket rights, it will be a significant indicator of how much they are willing to spend for sports streaming rights. Facebook and Amazon have stepped up for streaming rights in the past – Facebook with Major League Soccer and Amazon with NFL Thursday night games. But winning the NFL Sunday Ticket would be a strong signal that these digital players will pay generously for live sports events. That would be good news for college sports, as more consumers are cutting the cord on their cable connection and replacing it with a streaming alternative.