Apple’s Eddy Cue on Transforming the Future of Sports Broadcasting

Apple is making a significant foray into the sports broadcasting arena, led by Eddy Cue, the company’s Senior Vice President of Services, explaining the company’s ambitions in an interview with GQ this week.

The iPhone maker had previously signed a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) to serve as its primary broadcast partner. The deal is part of Apple’s broader strategy to diversify its services portfolio, which generated over $21 billion in the most recent fiscal quarter.

“Sports is the greatest unscripted drama there is,” said Cue, emphasizing that sports represent a massive opportunity for Apple. The company aims to transform the way sports are consumed, making them more in line with Apple’s design-centric and user-friendly ethos.

Apple’s partnership with MLS is not just about rights but about long-term collaboration. The two entities have already made changes to the broadcast schedule, focusing on Saturdays and select Wednesdays, with every game starting at 7:30 pm local time. “For the first time in the history of sports, fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place,” Cue stated.

The company has also entered into a separate deal with soccer legend Lionel Messi, who recently joined Inter Miami CF. While the specifics of Messi’s agreement with Apple were not disclosed, Cue acknowledged that Messi’s arrival has accelerated the growth of MLS Season Pass subscriptions. “There’s no question that we looked a lot smarter the day that Messi decided to come to MLS,” Cue noted.

However, Cue also expressed some frustrations with existing sports broadcasting norms and regulations. “The reality is, everyone is seeing that sports is changing. From the fanbase perspective, if you don’t change, you’re going to get left behind,” he said. Cue is particularly interested in leveraging technology to enhance the viewer experience, but he acknowledged that they have to play by many of FIFA’s rules.

Apple’s venture into sports broadcasting is still in its early stages, but the company is optimistic. “We still have huge opportunities to grow,” Cue concluded, signalling Apple’s commitment to reshaping the sports broadcasting landscape. You can read the full interview here.

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