Apple

Apple’s MLB deal is a small step in Apple’s quest to become an international sports broadcaster

Apple's MLB deal is a small step in Apple's quest to become an international sports broadcaster

At last week’s Apple event, they announced that they would be airing Friday Night Baseball which would be a weekly doubleheader with live pre-game and post-game shows available in eight countries exclusively on Apple TV+. Friday Night Baseball will be available on Apple TV+ in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. It will expand to other countries at a later date.

They also statedIn addition to “Friday Night Baseball,” fans in the United States will be able to enjoy “MLB Big Inning,” a live show featuring highlights and insights airing every weeknight during the regular season. Additionally, baseball fans in the United States and Canada will also have access to a new 24/7 live stream featuring MLB game replays, news and analysis, facts highlights, classic matches and more, plus a full range of on-demand programming. , including highlights and original MLB-themed content.

Fans will be able to watch marquee matches on Friday nights, without local streaming restrictions, on all devices where Apple TV+ can be found, including the Apple TV® app on iPhone®, iPad®, Mac®, Apple TV 4K and HD, and on tv.apple.com, as well as some smart TVs, game consoles and cable boxes. “Friday Night Baseball” will be available on Apple TV+ – and, for a limited time, without the need for a subscription.”

This move into sports broadcasting is exciting and important for a variety of reasons. You may remember that Steve Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacsonthis “He really wanted to do for televisions what he had done for computers, music players and telephones: make them simple and elegant,” wrote Isaacson.

Isaacson continued: “‘I would like to create an integrated TV that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would sync perfectly with all your devices and with iCloud.’ Users would no longer have to fiddle with complex remote controls for DVD players and cable channels.” It will have the simplest user interface you can imagine. I finally succeeded.”

Although Jobs talked about creating a TV, his real vision centered around seamless syncing of all your devices and iCloud and a simple user interface, although he died before he could create related material to this view. Clearly the Apple TV box, developed under Tim Cook, was an even smarter way to realize Jobs’ vision as it brings Steve’s true concept of software and services to any TV and Mac, iPhone and iPads.

More importantly, Tim Cook and team expanded Jobs’ vision to include original content, making Apple much more competitive in today’s streaming media world with Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and more.

With news of the MLB Friday Night baseball deal, Apple has taken baby steps in an important area of ​​sports streaming and original content. While broadcasts will be via the MLB Network, Apple will create specialty and original programming through pre-game and post-game shows and add exclusive commentary.

The Apple/MLB deal is significant because it signals a larger goal for Apple to eventually become a powerful sports-entertainment medium in its own right. Baseball is the first step in this quest to make Apple TV+ an eventual powerhouse in sports broadcasting.

The big question is, what other sports does Apple have an interest in bringing to Apple TV+?

From an American perspective, the NFL is the most likely next sport that Apple could bring to Apple TV+ and create original programming around it soon. This may be more difficult due to the fact that major US networks block most broadcast rights. However, as there is growing interest in American football around the world, perhaps Apple could convince the NFL to give them the rights to broadcast games around the world, which could help the NFL expand its scope.

Another sport with worldwide appeal is Hockey. It’s another sport that may be ripe for Apple to secure streaming rights beyond US borders.

However, perhaps the biggest opportunity for Apple to become a world-class sports broadcaster would be to strike deals with local soccer teams around the world and expand their sports ambitions around the world.

As you may know, football is the most watched sport in the world. In 2018, 526.6 million people watched the men’s World Cup final. That same year, the worldwide Super Bowl audience was only 106.5 million. However, the World Cup Final match in which France beat Croatia in Russia gathered more than a billion viewers.

Apple’s deal with MLB solidifies their interest in sports as the medium they want to include on Apple TV+. I see it as the first of many sports deals Apple could make in the years to come.

The bottom line here is that Apple is taking the sport around the world. This is something that American sports organizations have not done well, and Apple could be the one to help expand these sports internationally. For example, what if Apple got the rights to broadcast NFL games in Spain and then encapsulated local commentators and expert commentary hired by Apple. It could teach these audiences about American football and make them more interested in this American sport.

In a sense, streaming sports around the world and adding local content and commentary would be a never-before-seen opportunity for many sports leagues and Apple.

Given Apple’s global audience and their desire to add more programming and content to Apple TV+, incorporating sports into their service offerings would make a lot of sense. And that could propel them into becoming a powerhouse in sports broadcasting.