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Report: Apple and MLB hold ‘substantial talks’ over broadcast deal

Weekday games would represent the technology giant’s inaugural entry into major live sports rights.

11 January 2022 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Apple targeting rights package relinquished by ESPN, according to the NY Post 
  • Technology giant previously linked with NFL Sunday Ticket package

Apple has held talks about broadcasting Major League Baseball (MLB) games next season, according to the New York Post.

A deal would signal the technology giant’s first foray into the coverage of live top sports, with Apple reportedly circling the MLB rights package relinquished by ESPN made up of weekday national games.

When ESPN signed its new MLB rights deal it gave up Monday and Wednesday games from the start of the 2022 season, partially because it struggled to gain traction with the broadcasts not exclusive in local markets. It is unclear at this stage, according to the New York Post, if Apple would be allowed to be the sole broadcaster for these select games.

MLB has reportedly already held discussions with Amazon as well as US digital media company Barstool Sports. Speaking to Boston’s WEEI radio station in August, Barstool’s founder Dave Portnoy said there was a “ten per cent” chance of an agreement. A deal with internet giant Amazon, which acquired the National Football League’s (NFL) first ever all-digital package, has also failed to materialise so far.

Should Apple secure the package, it will show games on its Apple TV+ streaming service. The company held preliminary talks with the NFL back in July about acquiring rights for the league’s Sunday Ticket US out-of-market package, according to US reports.

MLB remains in a lockout, its first since 1990, after the league and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA) failed to secure a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The lockout began on 1st December, with seemingly little progress being made since then to finding a resolution.

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