Live Streaming is Changing the World of Sports Entertainment
In the first half of 2022, Apple TV turned the world of sports entertainment upside down by solidifying two historic streaming deals with Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (MLS). Tod Caflisch, Smart Solutions Subject Matter Expert at Lumen Technologies agrees, “some really impactful recent news in sports entertainment, especially around technology and media are the new media rights and broadcasting deals done with MLB and major league soccer.”
The story begins in April 2022 when Apple signed a seven-year contract worth $85M to stream MLBs games including an exclusive “Friday Night Baseball” package. Subscribers will have access to two games every Friday night without local broadcast restrictions. And Apple TV+ will broadcast a daily program called “MLB Big Inning” which will feature season highlights and MLB news every weeknight (MLB Trade Rumors).
Opening access to streaming sports is no doubt appealing to the younger generations. Being able to engage with favorite sports on a regular basis is something that many might find difficult to do – especially when it comes to MLS.
“The Major League Soccer one is particularly interesting in that they have partnered with Apple in a new streaming rights deal which really dovetails well with their whole demographic that follows Major League Soccer and supports the sport in general,” said Caflisch.
The MLS/Apple deal is truly historic providing soccer fans with unfettered access to every MLS game. The ten-year contract begins in 2023 and will bring a minimum of $2.5B in revenue to the ever-increasingly popular world of soccer in the U.S. This is a massive increase from the $90M the organization is presently making from its broadcasting deals with ESPN, Fox Sports, and Univision.
The deal will certainly appeal to soccer fans as all games will be available in one place – a special app within Apple TV+. And, there is no need to subscribe to Apple TV+ if fans don’t want to. Additional features of the deal include free access for MLS season ticket holders and some matches will be made available to the Apple TV+ community for free. There are also places to “air several regular-season matches with special branding akin to the treatment the company is giving its “Friday Night Baseball” MLB games” (The Athletic).
This is particularly fitting for MLS as “they tend to have a little younger demographic, more probably tech-savvy and tend to be more the folks that are gonna be cutting the cord and doing streaming for their entertainment and news and now sports coverage which is really kinda neat to see,” noted Caflisch.
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