Apple is in serious talks with Major League Baseball (MLB) to broadcast weekday national games on Apple TV+ next season — reports The New York Post.
Should a deal be struck, it would represent Apple’s first foray into sports broadcasting — a space that has long been dominated by broadcast giants like ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC, and CBS, but one that Apple rivals Amazon and social media giant Twitter have already made some headway in.
While Amazon has been live streaming National Football League (NFL) games for years now, the eCommerce and tech giant is set to become the exclusive home of NFL Thursday Night Football this fall in a deal that is worth more than $1 billion USD per year.
Apple has reportedly been after streaming rights for Thursday Night Football since before the company even launched Apple TV+, and was even in talks to start streaming the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package of games last year. However, the MLB is shaping up to be a good place to start for the iPhone maker.
The MLB’s weekday national games consist of the league’s regular Monday and Wednesday games, the broadcast rights for which were previously held by ESPN.
ESPN did not restrict regional sports network coverage for the weekday games it broadcasted, but it is not yet known whether Apple will be allowed to do so and make broadcasts exclusive in local markets.
According to reports, the MLB has already discussed the package with Barstool Sports and Amazon but did not find a deal in either case. How much money the league is looking for in exchange for the broadcast rights currently remains unknown.
While it is possible we’ll see weekday MLB games on Apple TV+ next season, both players and owners will have to first approve a new collective bargaining agreement. The latest reports have the owners locking out the players at present.
As for whether we’ll ever see MLB games broadcast on Apple TV+ in Canada, well that seems unlikely, as Sportsnet (owned by Rogers) has Canadian broadcasting rights here.