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As Apple bows out of NFL streaming negotiations, Facebook steps up

NFL Football Thursday Night

Though Apple’s TV subscription plans are reportedly on the shelf for the time being, the company over the past few months has remained interested in exploring content that might be suitable for the company’s fourth-gen Apple TV. Not too long ago, for instance, there were a number of credible reports suggesting that Apple was planning to make a bid for the non-exclusive digital rights to stream Thursday night NFL games.

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Specifically, the NFL this past December sent out formal requests for proposals (RFP) for Thursday night streaming rights to both TV networks and digital companies. Notably, RFPs were even sent out to companies that aren’t traditionally associated with sports, including Google, Apple and Amazon. While a partnership between the NFL and Silicon Valley might seem like a mismatch at first glance, remember that Yahoo enjoyed tremendous success when it livestreamed an NFL game last year, amassing over 15 million unique viewers for a dreadful matchup that pitted the Buffalo Bills against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Point being, the appetite for NFL football is immense and would certainly help draw viewers to whatever platform games happen to air on.

All that said, Re/Code is now reporting that Apple has opted to bow out of the negotiations process which would have given them the ability to stream upwards of 18 regular season games. And interestingly enough, Facebook is now showing some interest in broadcasting Thursday night NFL games.

Facebook, which until now has shied away from paying for content, is interested in the games. So far Facebook has been content to let other people upload video onto its giant platform, but its strategy appears to be shifting.

Apple, which could use something dramatic to set its Apple TV box apart from the competition, has determined that this package isn’t enough to pull that off, and isn’t bidding.

Other companies reportedly in the mix include Amazon and Verizon.

Apple’s stance on Thursday night NFL games is certainly reasonable, particularly because the NFL’s most intriguing matchups are typically saved for Sunday or Monday night. In the meanwhile, Apple appears to exploring producing its own original content. Just last month, word broke that Apple will producing its first original TV show called Vital Signs and starring Dr. Dre.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.