Google, flush with cash and mulling a way to extend its reach into television, has held meetings with the National Football League, the NFL said on Wednesday.
Although the League would not comment on specifics of the meeting, it raised the tantalizing possibility that the search behemoth could launch a bid for the rights to the NFL's Sunday Ticket package. Sources tell CNBC that Sunday Ticket was one of several items that emerged in the context of the discussion.
Still, the NFL has indicated that another reason they accepted DirecTV's bid was to limit the availability of the product so that the television networks and especially their local affiliates would be protected. In particular, NFL Sunday Ticket viewers do not count towards local Nielsen ratings; thus offering NFL Sunday Ticket on cable might cost CBS and Fox affiliates millions of dollars in lost revenue from local commercial breaks (as opposed to national ads sold by the networks). In turn, affiliates help subsidize the networks' programming costs.