Apple’s first live sports broadcast will boost Siri and Apple Music – Reuters

Apple’s first foray into live sports begins Friday, when the company will stream two Major League Baseball games on Apple TV+.

The “Friday Night Baseball” show will be produced by MLB Network and will be available without an Apple TV+ subscription for now, Apple said Thursday. The show will feature several on-screen relationships with Apple products, including on-screen graphics highlighting drummer music available on Apple Music, and baseball trivia featuring Siri.

This suggests that Apple’s strategy with “Friday Night Baseball” is to offer free live sports while marketing its streaming service to potential customers. Broadcast promotions from other Apple services also suggest a deeper partnership with Major League Baseball around the show and its production.

Apple is using the success of its iPhone and the cash flow it generates to expand its business beyond hardware to online services. Apple launched Apple TV+ in 2019 for $5 a month, initially focusing on big-budget scripted TV shows and movies.

The show is also a test of whether Apple’s strategy to bring TV+ to non-Apple platforms such as the web, other set-top boxes or game consoles can significantly increase its viewership. Although subscriber numbers for Apple TV+ have not been released, Koda, a film from the service, won the Best Picture Oscar in March.

Apple and Major League Baseball have a long history together: MLB launched the first iPhone app in 2008.

On Friday, Apple will stream the New York Mets in Washington Nationals at 7 p.m. ET, then the Houston Astros in Los Angeles at 9:30 p.m. ET. The first game will be called Adding Colors by Melanie Newman with Chris Young. Game two will be called by Stephen Nelson, with Hunter Pence serving as an analyst. Apple will also show live coverage before and after the game.

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The games will be available only on Apple’s service, not through the local cable network or Major League Baseball streaming service. They are also available internationally in countries such as Japan, Canada, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Apple also said on Thursday that it would release a weekly preview of upcoming Major League Baseball games and a daily recap of the action surrounding the league.

While Friday is Apple’s first live sports broadcast, other streaming services have experimented with adding live sports to reach a wider audience. In 2019, Amazon aired several Yankees games and also aired Thursday Night Football games.

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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