Apple TV + will have its first great sporting moment with Yankees-Red Sox

Apple TV + will have its first great sporting moment with Yankees-Red Sox

New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton #27 is greeted by teammate Aaron Judge #99 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Thursday July 23th. 2020 in Washington, DC.

Alex Trautwig | Major League Baseball | fake images

The most anticipated sports confrontation on television this Friday will not be on television.

It streams on Apple TV+.

Apple’s streaming service has exclusive rights for the Red Sox to play the Yankees on Friday. The game has received attention not only because the Yankees are likely heading to the playoffs and playing their main rival, but also because their star slugger Aaron Judge is closing in on the American League home run record and could break it on Friday.

It’s an important test of Apple’s ambition to become a live sports service and whether high-profile gaming can grow Apple’s subscriber count or meet other business objectives, such as making Apple products more valuable to consumers. current users. Apple’s baseball broadcasts don’t follow just one team, instead opting for one or two featured matchups each Friday night. But while there have been high-profile games and big stars this year, this Friday will see the biggest star of baseball’s most valuable team chasing a decades-long record.

Sports broadcasts can be a powerful tool to attract users to new services. For example, when Amazon Prime aired Thursday Night Football last week, it drew the most new Prime signups over a three-hour period in the company’s history, surpassing big shopping days like Black Friday, according to a memo seen. by CNBC.

That said, professional soccer is still a much bigger draw in the US than baseball. (Nielsen says 13 million people watched Amazon’s NFL broadcast last week; 400,000 viewers is a good night for the YES network, according to the New York Daily News. Amazon co-owns YES.)

When Apple started streaming MLB earlier this year, it said the games were free “for a limited time,” but it hasn’t started charging for access to baseball games yet. Currently, users only need an Apple ID, an account, but do not need to pay $5 per month for Apple TV+. Although the service is free, some users have expressed frustration that the games are not on their normal channel with their regular broadcasters.

Anticipation for Friday’s game is so high that the Yankees’ local channel, YES, has tried unsuccessfully to wrest the broadcast from Apple, the New York Post reported Thursday.

Apple has never disclosed subscriber or viewer numbers for any of its shows or streams on Apple TV+. It took a quality-over-quantity approach and focused on awards as a key metric to judge the success of its scripted shows.

In a break from its historical preferences, it has created Apple TV+ apps for several non-Apple platforms, including Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV, Google TV, and game consoles, allowing its streams to reach a broader market. .

In addition to baseball, Apple also has an agreement with Major League Soccer to exclusively broadcast their games. But the NFL is still the biggest prize in sports broadcasting. As CNBC previously reported, Apple has made a bid for NFL Sunday Ticket, a bundle of rights to out-of-market NFL games, competing against Amazon and ESPN parent Disney.

Apple declined to comment on the number of viewers.

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