Apple is reportedly prepared to make heavy investments into live sports content in order to significantly grow its Apple TV+ subscriber count.
According to an investors report, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives claims that Apple’s hesitation to make a serious investment into film studio acquisitions is an indication that the company’s core interests may lie in live sports. Ives believes that Apple sees live sports content as an important cog in the system growing its streaming platform.
Apple has spent significant money in acquiring the streaming rights of many films and series on Apple TV+. Ives states that Apple is currently spending $7 billion each year on original content and has more cash to spend. Ives believes additional spending could go towards “upcoming sports packages” that may be up for contract or renewals in the near future.
“With Apple spending $7 billion annually on original content and having roughly $200 billion of cash on its balance sheet, we believe the company is gearing up to bid on a number of upcoming sports packages coming up for contract/renewals in future years. We note that upcoming sports packages potentially for bid over the next four years that Apple can be involved with (in some capacity/semi-exclusive) are: NFL (Sunday Night Ticket), Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East, Big 12, other NCAA sports packages (2024 timing), NASCAR, and the NBA/WNBA.”
The seeds of this plan may already have begun being planted. Earlier this week, it was reported that Apple is supposedly nearing a deal with Major League Baseball to obtain the broadcasting right in the US. Apple has also long been in talks with the NFL to stream its Sunday Ticket Games.
As of now, Apple has yet to release an official subscriber count for Apple TV+. Though, Ives estimates that the streaming service has roughly 45 million viewers with 20 million paid subscribers. The remaining 25 million viewers are said to be those utilizing free trials Apple includes when purchasing its products.