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NFL-backed group lines up ‘Sunday Ticket’ streaming for bars, restaurants

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A satellite dish is no longer the only way bars and restaurants can air the National Football League’s package of “Sunday Ticket” games.

EverPass Media, the joint venture between the league and private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners that owns the commercial rights to “Sunday Ticket,” acquired UPshow, a platform with the tech capabilities to allow commercial establishments to stream live sports. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

With this acquisition, bars, restaurants, casinos and other businesses will be able to stream “Sunday Ticket” games. Until recently, they could only do so through a subscription to satellite TV provider DirecTV.

DirecTV will remain as a distributor to bars and restaurants, however. EverPass signed a nonexclusive deal with DirecTV last year to continue to distribute “Sunday Ticket” games, giving it the ability to reach deals with other distribution platforms.

“More content is moving to streaming. Regardless of the streaming economics, it’s become pretty clear that live sports is an important piece of that,” said EverPass CEO Alex Kaplan. “We’re going to think about how to deliver a product and service to our customers that’s becoming increasingly more challenging for them to sort of aggregate in a meaningful way. We’re still in the early days … but this is a big step for us.”

The new distribution option will be available this coming NFL season.

The acquisition for EverPass comes as more live sports games are being offered exclusively on streaming services — a new frontier for business establishments that have long subscribed to traditional pay TV packages to offer live sports.

“Sunday Ticket” is an integral sports package for bars and restaurants since it provides all out-of-market NFL games.

In late 2022, Google’s YouTube TV acquired the residential rights to “Sunday Ticket” for roughly $2 billion a year, a deal which runs over seven years. DirecTV had been the owner and exclusive residential and commercial distributor of the games since the package’s inception in 1994.

This followed a deal for Amazon’s Prime Video to become the exclusive home of ‘Thursday Night Football’ — part of the 11-year NFL media rights agreement worth over $100 billion.

Since then, the media rights owners of NFL games have begun to offer games simultaneously on their streaming services — and in some cases exclusively. Earlier this year Comcast’s NBCUniversal aired an NFL Wild Card game on Peacock, the first time a postseason game was exclusively offered via streaming. Netflix also recently won the rights to air two NFL games on Christmas this year, and at least one on the holiday in the following two years.

EverPass also brought on a new investor this week.

The joint venture announced that TKO — the newly merged company that owns UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment — will enter the ownership group. TKO is majority-owned by Endeavor Group Holdings.

“Now with RedBird, the NFL and TKO behind us, we think we have the means to put even more behind that technology,” said Kaplan.

EverPass is also looking to become a distributor for other content in addition to “Sunday Ticket” and the NFL.

“We’re out there looking at new content, and we certainly think they have great content and expect those will be discussions that we have in the near future,” said Kaplan on whether EverPass will distribute TKO’s WWE or UFC. “In general, we feel really good about our content pipeline.”

The company first partnered with UPshow when it started providing Peacock Sports Pass, which is a way for commercial establishments to stream some of the live sports on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, including the NFL, Premier League and college football.

Pricing for Peacock Sports Pass, similar to the upcoming distribution of “Sunday Ticket,” is dependent upon the commercial establishment’s classification, according to the company’s website.

In addition, the acquisition of UPshow will give EverPass the opportunity to explore distribution globally at a moment when leagues like the NFL, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball are pushing into international markets.

“Technology transcends borders. So all of a sudden we actually have the capability to go international,” said Derek Chang, executive chairman of EverPass. “And then the investment of Endeavor/TKO, which obviously has a tremendous amount of reach globally in terms of relationships.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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