The National Football League has signaled that it will begin accepting bids for their “Thursday Night Football” package of games. The league is expected to receive bids for streaming rights to the games from Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Amazon to stream the entire Thursday night schedule on a non-exclusive basis.
The league last week sent formal RFPs to the usual TV partners and outlets — CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and Turner — that outlined the NFL’s plan to sell a one-year deal with a league option for a second year. The league also sent RFPs to several digital companies, like Google, Yahoo, Apple and Amazon, to stream the entire Thursday night schedule on a non-exclusive basis, sources said.
The league expects bidding to start in the low $300 million range for the television package, with a nominal escalator built-in for year two. It isn’t known how much the NFL is expecting to receive for the streaming rights to the games, but Yahoo paid around $15 million for the exclusive streaming rights to one game this season.
NFL Executive VP/Media & NFL Network CEO Brian Rolapp recently told Re/code: “We are talking to numerous people — both traditional media companies and some of the Internet guys — and I think there will be a heavy digital component [for Thursday]. It is just a question of what the model will be and how we will do it.”
Obtaining the streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package, even on a non-exclusive basis, would aid Apple in its efforts to provide more content for its recently released fourth-generation Apple TV streaming box.