It’s been rumored for a while, and today Apple made it official: Major League Baseball games are coming to the Apple TV+ streaming service.
At the company’s big event today, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced that a new streaming deal with MLB would allow Apple to carry a Friday night doubleheader of games exclusively on its streaming platform. Yes, exclusive, which means the involved teams’ RSNs will not get those games (neither will MLB.tv), and it also means the payout is likely significant. Good timing for today’s CBA negotiations, yes?
— Safwan AhmedMia (@SuperSaf) March 8, 2022
Sports Business Journal adds some additional particulars, including Apple’s attempt to become a baseball highlight hub:
In addition to the two weekly Friday night games, the deal has Apple launching a live highlight show every weeknight called “MLB Big Inning,” which will provide live game look-ins; a 24/7 livestream with game replays, news, highlights and classic games; and the opportunity to watch highlights in the Apple News app.
The “Friday Night Baseball” doubleheader will be available in nine countries: the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the U.K. “MLB Big Inning” will be available in the U.S., while the livestream will be available in the U.S. and Canada.
On the one hand, the exclusivity means fans of particular teams may have to get the service just to watch those games if they want. On the other hand, this is an entree for MLB into Apple’s ecosystem, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing overall – long-term -for the sport.