Apple TV Plus will show 2 live Major League Baseball games on Fridays

The sports comedy-drama Ted Lasso was one of the most popular Apple TV Plus Originals.

James Martin/CNET

Apple TV Plus will broadcast two live baseball games on Friday nights, Apple said Tuesday, as well as pre- and post-game shows, a nightly live highlights program and a new 24/7 feed of baseball-related videos. Once the Major League Baseball season kicks off, the games will represent the first live sports on Apple’s $5 subscription streaming service since its launch in late 2019. So far, Apple TV Plus was sticking to original series and films on demand. .

Apple said that “for a limited time” Friday Night Baseball would be available without a subscription. Apple did not respond to a message asking for details. Apple TV Plus already offers the first episodes of dozens of its original series without a subscription, but viewers must sign in with an Apple ID to unlock them.

The news fell to Apple’s product eventwhich also revealed upgrades to its iPhone SE, iPads and other hardware.

Calling the Friday Night Baseball weekly programming block, Apple TV Plus will air two exclusive MLB games with pre-game and post-game shows every Friday from the start of the regular season. Initially, Friday Night Baseball will be available to Apple TV Plus subscribers in the US and Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the UK; Apple said available that it will expand to other countries later.

This year’s regular season has already been marred by early game cancellations due to a labor dispute lockout. A week ago, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first week of the regular season after the league and players’ association missed their final deadline to reach an agreement.

Apple’s MLB partnership also gives Apple TV Plus the ability to play with other types of streaming programs new to the service. In the US, Apple TV Plus will launch a live nightly show called MLB Big Inning, which will focus on highlights and “looks” every weekday during the regular season. And in the US and Canada, Apple TV Plus will have an always-on stream of MLB game replays, news, analysis, highlights and classic games. This type of 24/7 “channel” is something streaming competitor Peacock has proliferated on its service.

Netflix, the world leader in video streaming with 221 million members around the world abstains from live sports, claiming that the high cost of their license is irrelevant to their real value. But many of Netflix’s major streaming competitors are branching out into live sports, trying to claim the attention of sports fans as more and more types of programming move to streaming. Amazon Prime Video, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Paramount Plus, and HBO Max all include live sports, to varying degrees.

Apple TV Plus is the gadget giant’s $5-a-month subscription video streaming service that offers Apple’s original TV shows and movies, competing with Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and others. Unlike its major competitors, it doesn’t have the scale of an extensive library. Until now, Apple TV Plus has marketed itself as a low-cost option for a slimmer library of prestige shows and big-budget movies like award-winning sports comedy-drama Ted Lasso, Oscar nominee CODA and the satirical sci-fi thriller. Breakup.

With a multibillion-dollar budget to recruit some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Apple TV Plus was the first to enter the so-called “streaming wars,” a time when media giants and titans of technology have launched a flood of new streaming services to take on Netflix. This competition – pitting rookies like Apple TV Plus, HBO Max, Disney Plus and Peacock against heavyweights like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – has prompted the companies to pour in billions of dollars in their hopes of shaping the future of TV . For you, that means more services to sort through — and pay for — as you figure out what you want to watch.

GameSpot’s Ian Sherr contributed to this report.

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MLB games are coming to Apple TV in Friday Night Baseball


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