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Apple, MLB Discussing Possibility of Streaming Partnership

Apple and MLB are reportedly discussing a streaming deal, most likely the Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball packages ESPN walked away from.

Apple MLB Streaming Deal
Photo: The Streamable

Apple is engaged in serious talks with Major League Baseball about streaming MLB broadcasts. The news was first reported by The New York Post.

The report represents yet another potential milestone for digital streaming, which continues to make its push into the world of sports broadcasting.

Amazon was the first digital streaming provider to make a serious play in the sports landscape as the e-commerce giant bought the rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” in 2021. Amazon is paying the NFL over $1 billion for those rights.

Any potential Apple-MLB deal would come nowhere near the magnitude of that Amazon-NFL one, but it would see digital streaming stake a significant claim in the sports broadcasting space.

MLB is currently attempting to sell its weekday national games package that ESPN recently stepped away from. Those games will occur on Monday and Wednesday nights. ESPN still holds the rights to “Sunday Night Baseball”.

While the potential deal is a game-changer, there are some questions.

First, how exactly would Apple distribute the games they broadcast? The tech behemoth will most likely use its Apple TV+ subscription service to do just that.

Second, what about deals with regional sports networks? The Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball broadcasts on ESPN were not exclusive to local markets. This meant both ESPN and the teams’ local channel showed the games. It is unclear whether or not Apple would have local market exclusivity and wall off games to those without an Apple TV+ subscription.

Last, but certainly not least, how will the current MLB lockout affect a potential deal? Could a deal affect the future collective bargaining agreement between the MLB and MLBPA? A lot is up in the air and will continue to be so as long as the lockout remains.

Both MLB and Apple declined to comment.

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Lead soccer reporter at On Tap. I write about the Cubs and Bulls too. I also write a sports business newsletter @SportDollars. You can follow me on Twitter @just_wasik. West Ham fan.

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