Apple has acquired its first sports rights for its streaming service Apple TV+.
The streamer has picked up a package of Major League Baseball (MLB) rights in nine territories. These cover the MLB’s core markets of Canada and the US, along with Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the UK.
Apple said that the deal will expand to additional countries at a later date.
The package of rights will see Apple broadcast ‘Friday Night Baseball’ – a weekly doubleheader with live pre- and postgame shows, starting from the start of the delayed 2022 season which begins at the end of the month.
In addition, Apple will broadcast a weekly highlights show, while offering a round-the-clock live feed in the US and Canada which will broadcast game replays, news highlights and classic matches.
The final component of the deal is access to digital highlights, which will be viewable on the Apple News platform on Mac and iOS devices.
Peter Stern, vice president of Services at Apple, said: “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+ the home for great baseball moments throughout the season.”
Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer, said: “Apple is the ideal partner to bring ‘Friday Night Baseball’ to fans around the world. 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+ offers an exciting new platform to fans that allows a wider audience to connect with the game.”
This is the first live sports deal agreed by Apple, but may not be the last. Multiple reports over the past few years have said that the iPhone maker is interested in picking up a package of NFL matches, specifically for the Sunday Ticket out-of-market rights.