One of the world’s highest revenue-producing companies, Apple has made its first significant foray into live sports broadcasting by acquiring the Major League Baseball (MLB) rights in nine territories, including the United States and Canada.
There are no financial details available, but the multi-year agreement will see the Apple TV+ streaming platform exclusively air a weekly MLB Friday night doubleheader beginning with the lockout-delayed 2022 season. MLB will produce the Apple broadcasts, which will not be carried by the participating teams’ regional sports network (RSN) partners.
In addition to MLB’s domestic territories in North America, Apple’s live game broadcast contract includes Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Apple stated that more territories will be added throughout the agreement.
The agreement also includes Apple acquiring MLB’s live look-in US rights, which were surrendered by DAZN in 2020 as the UK-based media company sought to reduce non-core spending.
Every weeknight, Apple TV+ will broadcast an ‘MLB Big Inning’ whip-around show, as well as a 24/7 live stream feed with game replays, news, highlights, and classic matches for users in the United States and Canada. The agreement also includes a digital highlights package for Apple News.
The MLB agreement could be the first in a series of broadcast collaborations for the technology behemoth as it seeks to expand Apple TV+. According to Apple, the live MLB games on Apple TV+ will be available without a subscription at first.
Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer, said, “Apple is the ideal partner to bring ‘Friday Night Baseball’ to fans around the world. Following milestones like the launch of At Bat on day one of the App Store in 2008 to the integration of Apple technology in ballparks across the country, this robust new game package is the perfect next collaboration in our long history of offering quality and innovative content to our fans. With national availability and international reach, MLB on Apple TV+ offers an exciting new platform to fans that allows a wider audience to connect with the game.”