Apple may want more Sunday Ticket flexibility than NFL will give

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Sunday Ticket talks between Apple TV+ and the NFL are said to have been slowed down by complex rights issues, with Apple looking for fewer restrictions.

The long-rumored deal for Apple TV+ to stream NFL Sunday Ticket was once even reported to have been concluded, but now it's in doubt.

According to CNBC, complex existing rights restrictions are limiting what the NFL is offering Apple — and Apple wants more. Unspecified sources have said that talks are continuing, but separate deals such as those with Fox and CBS to air local games are proving a problem.

Just as it does with one-off Apple TV+ fare such as the Oscar-winning "CODA," Apple prefers to have exclusive, worldwide rights, even if it has to pay a great deal for them.

"We weren't interested in [just] buying sports rights," Apple's Eddy Cue said in a talk at the Paley Center for Media. ""There's all kinds of capabilities that we're going to be able to do together because we have everything together."

"And so if I have a great idea," he continued, "I don't have to think about, OK, well, my contract or the deal of interest will allow this."

Apple's aim is to follow how it has transformed Friday Night Baseball, as compared to the sport's previous regular broadcasts. It's likely to want the rights to show local games which are subject to blackout, and may also be seeking global rights where the NFL has previously sold US-only ones.

CNBC says that the NFL hopes to choose in the next ten weeks which streaming service will get Sunday Ticket. It's believed that the League is asking for between $2 billion and $3 billion annually.