Word comes today from MarketWatch that the most National of Leagues of Football is seeking to renegotiate their online licensing deal (currently with CBS Corporation’s SportsLine and Time Warner’s AOL) which expires in May. While no decision has been made yet regarding who would be a potential suitor, Apple’s name is being dropped alongside Microsoft, Sony, Google, Yahoo! and most likely CBS and AOL who, I imagine, would be interested in re-upping that contract.
The bad news for Apple here is that unlike many of their other arrangements, this isn’t a “let’s work together and all make money” kind of situation, but rather more of a “pay us a whole bunch of money for the rights to sell our content,” something that would likely be a radical change of direction for Apple. And we’re talking about all sorts of money involved, too. Sprint Nextel paid $600 million over five years for rights to highlights, statistics and programming from the NFL Network. So, while it’s certainly intriguing to think of the possibilities, I think Apple is kind of a dark horse in this race.