Emboldened by their deep pockets and eager to boost viewership of their streaming-subscription services, Apple and Amazon have thrust themselves into negotiations for media rights held by the NFL, MLB, Formula One racing and college conferences.
They are competing to replace DirecTV for the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, a package the league wants to sell for more than $2.5 billion annually, about $1 billion more than it currently costs, according to five people familiar with the process. Eager not to miss out, Google has also offered a bid from YouTube for the rights beginning in 2023, two people familiar with the offer said.
The NFL Sunday Ticket package — which shows out-of-market Sunday NFL games that aren't being shown on local television — is available because DirecTV chose not to bid. It has been losing as much as $500 million annually on the package, though it has also benefited from a reliable base of about 2 million subscribers.
Apple is considered the front-runner, according to a dozen people in the sports, media and tech industries. But a final deal has been delayed by negotiations over a concurrent sale of NFL media assets, including the NFL Network, RedZone channel and NFL+, a new subscription service that provides access to live games on mobile devices.
Apple has made winning the package a priority. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has met with league officials and influential team owners, according to three people familiar with the process. Apple declined to comment.
Still, Amazon, ESPN+ and YouTube, which explored a bid for the rights in 2014, remain in the hunt, some of these people said. Brian Rolapp, the NFL's chief media and business officer, said in a statement that the league expects to finalize a deal in the coming months.
Fans will still be able to access all the games on Sundays, regardless of who wins the rights, but they will probably pay a premium to add the service to their Apple, Amazon, ESPN+ or YouTube service, some of the dozen people said. It is not yet clear if that premium would be more or less than the $294 that DirecTV charges for a year, they added.
Kyiv Nightlife Comes Back Amid Urge for Contact. 'This Is the Cure.' 基輔夜生活回歸 喝酒跳舞療心傷
The rave had been planned for weeks, with the space secured and the DJs, the drinks, the invites and the security all lined up.
But after a recent missile strike far from the front lines killed more than 25 people, including children, in central Ukraine, an attack that deeply unsettled all Ukraine, the rave organizers met to make a hard, last-minute decision. Should they postpone the party?
"That's exactly what the Russians want," said Dmytro Vasylkov, one of the organizers.
So they rigged up enormous speakers, blasted the air conditioning and covered the windows of a cavernous room with thick black curtains. Then, they flung open the doors to an old silk factory in Kyiv's industrial quarter.
And as if on command, the room filled with young men with their shirts stripped off and young women in tight black dresses, everyone moving as if in a trance, facing forward, almost like at a church, the DJ the altar.
After a prolonged silence, Kyiv nightlife is roaring back.
Many people are venturing out for the first time since the war began. To drink by the river. To meet a friend. To sit at a bar and have a cocktail. Or three.
This is a city full of young people who have been cooped up for two years, first because of COVID and then the war with Russia. They yearn for contact. War makes that urge even greater, especially this war, where a Russian cruise missile can take you out, anywhere, anytime.
And now that summer is in full swing, and the heavy fighting is mostly concentrated in Ukraine's east, hundreds of miles away, Kyiv is finally feeling a little less guilty about going out.
"This was a big question for me: Is it OK to work during the war? Is it OK to pour a cocktail during the war?" said Bohdan Chehorka, a bartender. "But the first shift was the answer. I could see it in the customers' eyes. It was psychotherapy for them."