Speculation is swirling that Apple is attempting to bolster Apple TV+ by bidding on the rights to broadcast live sports ranging from NASCAR to Sunday night football.
An analyst from Wedbush believes that since Apple has yet to make any public moves to acquire a movie studio, this might suggest that the tech giant will take an alternative route and will instead pursue live sports.
The report further singles out some specific leagues that Apple could grab the rights to stream over the next four years. This includes NFL (Sunday Night Ticket), Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East, Big 12, other NCAA sports packages (2024 timing), NASCAR, and the NBA/WNBA.
This builds on rumours from earlier in 2022 that Apple is talking to Major League Baseball about broadcasting games on its streaming service.
It’s expected Apple currently has 20 million paid TV+ subscribers. Combining that number with people who share a single screen and the plethora of Apple TV+ free trials, the actual viewership is much larger at 45 million. According to MacRumors, Apple spends $7 billion USD ($8.7 billion CAD) on content yearly but has roughly $200 billion in cash it could use to expand Apple TV+’s offerings.
While Apple was initially expected to buy a movie studio like A24, the company has been slowly building up its base content offerings on Apple TV+ by purchasing the rights to individual shows and movies. Apple could likely still buy a few sports deals and a movie studio or two. That said, it isn’t easy to gauge what Apple deems more important.
In Canada, streaming live sports is already a pain because of regional broadcasting rules. For instance, there isn’t even a single service that will allow you to stream every NHL game. While I’d like to believe that Apple getting into the space may help some people watch their favourite teams, I’m worried it will fracture an already difficult to navigate online sports streaming space.