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Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

AT&T COO John Stankey said that the telecom giant would consider dropping its exclusive rights to the NFL's Sunday Ticket package from its DirecTV satellite service in a Wall Street Journal interview.

Why it matters: The package features most Sunday NFL games — some of the most popular programming on television — and the deal has long been a cornerstone for DirecTV.

  • "There’s less profitability to support the decision" to offer Sunday Ticket, Stankey said in the interview. "It becomes less critical to the business over time."
  • According to the Journal, AT&T is paying $1.5 billion annually for the Sunday Ticket rights. Its exclusive package expires in 2022.
  • Stankey's statement doesn't come as a total surprise. In an interview with Recode in February, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson alluded to the fact that the NFL was less invested in the fan experience than other sports.

The state of play: AT&T is under pressure from investors to divest DirecTV, which it acquired for $65 billion in 2015, because the business is struggling as more people ditch traditional television packages for digital alternatives.

  • Rumors have circulated over the past two weeks that AT&T is considering dropping the service, which the telecom giant has denied.

The big picture: Sports rights are coveted entities in the the television business, as they make up one of the only types of content that viewers still consume live. Leagues have developed a great deal of leverage over TV networks to charge for the rights to distribute their live content.

Our thought bubble: If AT&T is considering dropping its live TV business, then it makes sense that they wouldn't want to pay big bucks to renew the NFL contract.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Anita Dunn advises Dems on economy message for '22

Signs from a President Biden event yesterday in Kansas City, Mo. Photo: Chase Castor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a midterm preview, top Democratic strategist Anita Dunn advises the party's House and Senate members to frame Republicans "as being against the economic interests of working Americans."

What she's saying: "Explicitly framing Republicans as opposing policies to lower costs does better than simply framing Republicans as the 'party of no,'" Dunn, White House senior adviser until August, writes in the memo.

JPMorgan: "Full global recovery" in 2022

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase Global Research says in a forecast to clients: "2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak."

The big picture: The bullish report sees "a return of global mobility, and a release of pent-up demand from consumers (e.g. travel, services)."

Inside Trump's hunt for "disloyal" Republicans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Donald Trump and his associates are systematically reshaping the Republican Party, working to install hand-picked loyalists across federal and state governments and destroy those he feels have been disloyal, sources close to the former president tell Axios.

Why it matters: If most or all of Trump’s candidates win, he will go into the 2024 election cycle with far more people willing to do his bidding who run the elections in key states.