Apple has started talks with Major League Baseball about a potential deal that would see the company air MLB games next season, reports The New York Post.
The talks are described as “substantial” and “serious”, and a deal would provide Apple with a means to establish Apple TV+ as a destination for sports content. Currently, Apple TV+ offers TV shows and movies, but compared to its competitors, it is unable to appeal to sports fans.
The lack of access to live sports is a serious downside for Apple TV, as competitors like Amazon have cut deals. Amazon has signed a deal to stream “Thursday Night Football” games starting this fall, and Amazon has paid more than $1 billion for access.
Currently, Apple TV+ does not offer support for any type of live TV, only providing access to on-demand TV and movie content, so Apple would likely have to create a new sports-focused section with access to live TV.
Apple TV+ integrates with the TV app, which in turn integrates with apps that provide access to live sports through the Sports tab. You can, for example, choose a favorite team in the TV app and it will offer to stream a game in the appropriate app whenever the team plays.
MLB buys its national weekday games that were previously exclusive to ESPN, so it’s likely that Apple TV+ would offer the Monday and Wednesday games that ESPN no longer has access to if a deal works out. Discussions have also taken place with Barstool Sports and Amazon, but no agreement has been reached.