Apple Catches 'Friday Night Baseball' in Landmark Sports Broadcast Deal [Update]

9 Mar

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Update: New details on the deal between MLB and Apple courtesy of Forbes.

Apple have officially announced that they will bring ‘Friday Night Baseball’ to Apple TV+. 

Publicly announced by Tim Cook during its ‘Peek performance’ media event this evening, Apple TV+ will be the exclusive home to two Major League Baseball games on Friday nights as soon as the regular season begins - and for a limited time, without the need for a subscription.

The weekly doubleheader will be joined by live pre- and postgame shows, available to fans in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, expanding to additional countries at a later date.

Furthermore, subscribers in the United States and Canada will also have access to a new 24/7 livestream with MLB game replays, news and analysis, highlights, classic games, and more, as well as a full complement of on-demand programming, including highlights and MLB-themed original content.

Fans will be able to watch marquee games on Friday nights, free from local broadcast restrictions, across devices where Apple TV+ can be found as-well-as via web-browser on Peter Stern, Apple’s vice president of Services spoke on the deal:  

“Just like all baseball fans, we can’t wait for the season to open.” “Baseball has a special place in the heart of so many Apple customers — not just in the United States, but in many countries around the world. We’re proud to make Apple TV+ the home for great baseball moments throughout the season.” 

Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer also remarked on the recent history between MLB and Apple:

“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.”

According to Forbes, the deals between MLB and Apple is worth $85 million annually over seven years. Quoting numerous anonymous sources familiar with the agreement:

Apple will pay a $55 million rights fee and $30 million worth of advertising. Apple gets exclusive rights to telecast two “Friday Night Baseball” games each week (about 50 a season) in the U.S. and to eight countries overseas, via its Apple TV Plus. Apple has the right to exit the agreement after the first or second years.

Apple’s first live sports broadcast deal marks a significant milestone for the streaming service following its launch in November 2019. More sports acquisitions could soon follow, with frequent speculations on potential deals with the NFL, MLS and the English Premier League. Provided everything goes to plan, following intense negotiations between the MLB and the players union, we hope to see the new MLB season begin later this month.

Fun Fact: MLB was at the centre of Apple's vision of the future of television with the introduction of tvOS and the 4th generation Apple TV. Nearly seven years on could this be a sneak peek at what's to come?

Sigmund Judge
Sigmund is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of ScreenTimes where he began his Apple TV coverage in 2016. With an unwavering passion for Apple, storytelling and storytellers alike, he writes about Apple TV with a focus on the arts, development, tvOS, home theatre and accessibility. Sigmund also co-host’s Magic Rays of Light, a weekly podcast exploring the world of Apple TV and the many talents bringing our screens to life.