Apple TV+ to have its first major sports moment with Yankees-Red Sox

Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees is greeted by teammate Aaron Judge #99 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Thursday, July 23. 2020 Washington, DC

Alex Trotwick | Major League Baseball | Good pictures

The most anticipated sports match on TV will not be on TV this Friday.

It’s streaming on Apple TV+.

Apple’s The streaming service has exclusive rights to the Red Sox, who play the Yankees on Friday. The game gained attention not only because the Yankees were playoff-bound and playing their best rival, but because their star slugger, Aaron Judge, was ending. American League home run record and could break it on Friday.

It’s a key test of Apple’s ambitions as a service for live games and whether high-quality games can increase Apple’s subscriber base or serve other business purposes, such as making Apple products more valuable to existing users. Apple’s baseball broadcasts don’t follow a single team, instead picking a marquee matchup or two each Friday night. But while this year has featured high-profile games and big stars, this Friday will see the biggest star on baseball’s most prestigious team chase a decades-old record.

Sports broadcasting can be a powerful tool to attract users to new services. For example, when Amazon Prime aired Thursday Night Football last week, it attracted the most new Prime signups in the company’s history in less than three hours, surpassing big shopping days like Black Friday. A note spotted by CNBC.

Pro football is still a bigger draw than baseball in America. (Nielsen says 13 million people watched Amazon’s NFL broadcast last week; 400,000 viewers was a good night for the YES Network, according to New York Daily News. Amazon is a part owner of YES.)

When Apple began streaming MLB earlier this year, it said the games would be free “for a limited time,” but it has yet to charge for access to baseball games. Currently, users only need an Apple ID — an account — but don’t have to pay $5 a month for Apple TV+. Although the service is free, some users expressed disappointment About the games not being on a normal channel with their normal broadcasters.

Anticipation for Friday’s game is so high that Yankees home channel YES unsuccessfully tried to get the broadcast back from Apple. The New York Post reported Thursday.

Apple has yet to release subscriber numbers or viewership for its shows or broadcasts on TV+. It was a quality-over-quantity approach and was taken Focused on awards as a key metric To determine the success of its scripted programs.

In a break from its historical favorites, Roku has developed Apple TV+ apps for several non-Apple platforms, including Amazon’s Fire TV, Google TV and game consoles, allowing its broadcasts to reach a wider market.

In addition to baseball, Apple also a Agreement with Major League Soccer to exclusively broadcast its matches. But the NFL remains the biggest sports streaming prize. As previously reported by CNBCApple has bid for NFL Sunday Ticket, a bundle of rights to out-of-market NFL games that will compete against Amazon and ESPN parent Disney.

Apple declined to comment on viewer numbers.

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