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Apple Reportedly Continuing Pursuit of NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL Media Stake

It’s believed the budget Apple is working with is in the neighborhood of $200 billion.

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The drum beat for Apple to get NFL broadcast rights is growing louder as we move into spring.

Front Office Sports reports the tech giant is looking to leverage its purchasing power to secure an equity stake in NFL Media, NFL Sunday Ticket and mobile live streaming of games.

A multibillion-dollar deal, Front Office Sports says, would make Apple one of the league’s biggest business partners.

Writers Michael McCarthy and A.J. Perez note that Amazon, which will present Thursday Night Football starting this season, is also considered a frontrunner to buy that stake in NFL Media, which consists of NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and NFL.com.

BSM has previously covered reports that Apple is shopping around for sports broadcast rights. The company reportedly has a blank checkbook and has been connected to talks about streaming Major League Baseball games in the future. It’s believed the budget Apple is working with is in the neighborhood of $200 billion.

So it would be no surprise if more news of official talks between the NFL and Apple comes out in the near-future. It would make sense that the league would want a deal of this magnitude done with enough notice to put together a large-scale marketing effort.

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NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer

“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”

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According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.

The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.

The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options. 

NFL+ would make NFL Media more valuable. The league is trying to sell an equity stake in its linear TV and digital media properties. Amazon and Apple are considered the most likely to make a deal. 

A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.

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Stephen A. Smith To Charles Barkley: ‘I Worry Because You’re Big’

“You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”

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ESPN host Stephen A. Smith is concerned about his friend Charles Barkley.

Barkley, while in Dallas with TNT for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, Barkley hopped on a horse. The clip Stephen A. used in his ESPN+ show Stephen A’s World showed Barkley needing assistance by handlers to get off the horse.

Stephen A. was astounded.

“Ain’t no way Charles Barkley needs that much help getting off the horse,” Smith said. “But he did – he did!”

Smith then used the closing seconds to express his concern about Barkley’s size.

“I worry about you cause you’re a big boy,” he said. “You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”

Barkley hasn’t had any publicized major health incidents stemming from his weight, but still Stephen A. was hopeful his friend might take some time and initiative to work on cutting a few pounds.

“Let’s address that, because I need you around,” Smith said. “I love you bro.”

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NFL Considers Ending Pro Bowl Amidst Low Ratings

“Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.”

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The NFL is obsessed with TV ratings. It isn’t a surprise that the league may not be willing to tolerate the Pro Bowl underperforming for much longer. 

In 2022, the NFL’s all-star game produced it’s lowest ratings in 16 years. Fewer that 7 million people tuned in to watch the game across ABC, ESPN and DisneyXD. 

“The (Pro Bowl) game doesn’t work,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday after the owners’ meeting in Atlanta. “We need to find another way to celebrate the players.”

There are two proposed alternatives that have been reported. The Washington Post says the league is considering launching a seven-on-seven competition. It would not include tackling or full clocks. The other report comes from Ian Rapport of the NFL Network. He says the league is considering hosting a series of skills competitions over the course of what would be branded an all-star week. The NFL has partnered with DirecTV in the past to present similar events during Super Bowl Week. 

No details have emerged or final decisions made. Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.

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