Apple is widely expected to land rights to stream NFL Sunday Ticket on the Apple TV platform, but with an estimated price tag in the $2.5 billion range, it is taking a while for the deal to be finalized.
In the meantime, likely as an offshoot of those negotiations, Apple Music has been announced as the new sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show, in a multi-year deal starting with Super Bowl 57 on February 12, 2023.
Apple Music supplants the previous main sponsor, Pepsi. Apple Music’s social channels will start releasing teasers and exclusive Super Bowl related content in the run-up to the big day. Apple will also have a say in production of the actual halftime event and how the performances are televised (and streamed?).
Although Apple as a device company rarely takes up traditional sponsorship deals, its media divisions have been more open to such marketing arrangements. Years ago, Apple Music (then called iTunes) teamed up with American Idol, ran its own iTunes Festival, and more recently has sponsored various live music events and festivals.
However, Apple’s primary interest with the NFL is securing the Sunday Ticket package, following the expiry of the league’s previous deal with satellite TV provider DirectTV. The league has already said that it expects Sunday Ticket to move to a streaming service, with an announcement due before the end of the year.
Apple is expected to secure that deal, as it enters the competitive live sports arena with deals like MLB Friday Night Baseball and the exclusive rights to stream Major League Soccer. However, the New York Times reports that the NFL wants to offload many assets simultaneously, including NFL Network and the RedZone channel, which has slowed talks as Apple negotiates each detail carefully.
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