Apple said it reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to begin airing weekly Friday Night Baseball double headers, a big swing into sports for Apple TV Plus.
The schedule will start as soon as baseball’s season begins. The season at this point is delayed by a lockout by owners negotiating a new labor deal with the players association.
Sports is becoming a big ticket for streaming services. Comcast's NBCUniversal had also reportedly been in talks to stream baseball via its Peacock direct-to-consumer platform. Amazon will exclusively stream Thursday Night Football. And Apple is reportedly talking With the NFL About Sunday Ticket and taking a stake in NFL Media.
“Just like all baseball fans, we can’t wait for the season to open,” said Peter Stern, Apple’s VP of services. “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 Plus the home for great baseball moments throughout the season.”
Apple’s games will be surrounded by a pre-game and post-game show.
Apple will also be streaming MLB Big Inning, a live show featuring highlights and look-ins every weeknight during the season.
“Apple is the ideal partner to bring ‘Friday Night Baseball’ to fans around the world,” said Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer. “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 Plus offers an exciting new platform to fans that allows a wider audience to connect with the game.”
Friday Night Baseball will be available on Apple TV Plus in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, and will expand to additional countries at a later date. ■
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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