Apple 'Ready to Spend Billions' on Live Sports Content Over Next Four Years

Apple is on an "aggressive hunt" for potential deals that would allow it to broadcast live sports content on its TV+ streaming service as part of a wider effort to boost subscription numbers, according to a new report from investment firm Wedbush.

nfl
In a new investor note, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said he regards Apple's decision not to acquire a movie studio yet as a clear indication that it now sees live sports programming as potentially a key piece of its future success for growing the audience of its video streaming service.

Apple has not provided details on ‌Apple TV+‌ subscriber numbers since the digital streaming service began, but Wedbush estimates that ‌Apple TV+‌ has around 20 million paid subscribers among roughly 45 million viewers, the rest of which are seeing out free trials included with other Apple product purchases.

That's a fraction of the number of subscriptions that the likes of Disney+ and Netflix enjoys. Knowing this, Apple is apparently "ready to spend billions" on live sports content over the next four years to drive the future growth of ‌Apple TV+‌ and make it a key monetization engine in its burgeoning services ecosystem, which earned it $80 billion in annual revenue in the last financial year.

With Apple spending $7 billion annually on original content and having roughly $200 billion of cash on its balance sheet, we believe the company is gearing up to bid on a number of upcoming sports packages coming up for contract/renewals in future years. We note that upcoming sports packages potentially for bid over the next four years that Apple can be involved with (in some capacity/semi-exclusive) are: NFL (Sunday Night Ticket), Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East, Big 12, other NCAA sports packages (2024 timing), NASCAR, and the NBA/WNBA.

At the current time, ‌‌Apple TV+‌‌ does not offer support for any kind of live television, providing access only to on-demand television and movie content, so Apple will need to build in a new sports-oriented section with live TV streaming if it completes any deals.

Earlier this month, The New York Post reported that Apple has entered into discussions with Major League Baseball about a potential deal that would see the company broadcasting MLB games next season, which would represent a major foray into the world of live sports content.

Its current lack of live sports access remains a serious hole in Apple TV's programming, with competitors like Amazon already boasting established deals. For example, Amazon's 20 live English Premier League soccer games will return in the 2022/23 season, and the company has inked a deal to air "Thursday Night Football" games starting this fall, for which it paid more than $1 billion for the access.

Top Rated Comments

GuilleA Avatar
2 weeks ago
But is it ready to spend billions on Siri and Apple Maps for the rest of the world? I don't give a **** about American football.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
syklee26 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Personally, I would love Apple to get NFL rights, but Worldwide rights for euro football will definitely do wonders to their subscribers numbers and probably better for Apple’s bottomline.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pakaku Avatar
2 weeks ago
If this means stripping out all of the incessant advertising during and between games, then by all means, please let this happen. Still can't wrap my mind around why sports are worth billions of dollars, though.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Moonjumper Avatar
2 weeks ago

Apple isn’t the same company they were 20 years and they shouldn’t be expected to. Are you suggesting that Apple should not take on new heights where they can capitalize on different parts of the industry? Look how they’re streaming services has turned out very successful. Expansion into various service offerings is a good thing. There more than just a ‘tech’ company.
I have not found Apple services to be very good compared to their hardware and software, and a sports deal does not have the same overlap with their hardware and software that their other services do. That is why I think it it so far from what made them great.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
2 weeks ago
This is a great graphic showing the top 100 most watched shows (not just sports) in America in 2021. All the darker-colored footballs (or egg-shaped handballs to others) are NFL broadcasts. Wow. The NFL 'owns' America. Baseball, Pro Basketball, Pro Hockey don't even make the list.

The AVERAGE game of American football gets 17 million viewers. (The Super Bowl gets over 100 million viewers)
Compare that to Premiere League Soccer which gets 0.4 million viewers on average.

In the United States, Apple is far better going after the NFL.



Attachment Image
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
2 weeks ago
Why don’t they spend a few million on HomePod and Siri? Siri sucks and she sucks even harder on HomePod for some reason.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

mlb banner

Apple Reportedly Looking to Broadcast Major League Baseball Games Next Season

Monday January 10, 2022 2:18 pm PST by
Apple has entered into discussions with Major League Baseball about a potential deal that would see the company broadcasting 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 way to establish Apple TV+ as a destination for sports content. At the current time, Apple TV+ offers TV shows and movies,...
nfl sunday ticket

Apple in Talks With NFL for Sunday Ticket Streaming

Friday July 9, 2021 9:18 am PDT by
Apple is interested in streaming rights for the National Football League's "Sunday Ticket" package, reports The Information. Apple has had discussions with NFL executives, but the NFL is also speaking with TV networks and other tech firms as well. Sunday Ticket streaming content currently airs on DirecTV, but it is up for auction and should Apple acquire the rights, out-of-market fans will...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Expected to Reach 36 Million Subscribers By 2026, Far Short of Rivals

Wednesday October 13, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple's TV+ digital streaming service is expected to have a total of 36 million subscribers by the end of 2026, according to research firm Digital TV Research (via The Hollywood Reporter). According to the research, Disney's wildly successful streaming service will overtake Netflix and reach 284.2 million subscribers by 2026. Netflix by comparison is expected to hit 270.7 million subscribers ...
Apple Watch Series 7 Rainbow Cropped Blue Discount

Deals: Apple Watch Series 7 Discounted by Up to $40 in Amazon's New Sale

Tuesday January 11, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Amazon today is offering a big selection of Apple Watch Series 7 at a discount, including both GPS and cellular models. Every model is shipped and sold directly by Amazon, with stock available for shipping today for most devices. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the ...
maxresdefault

Humorous New Ad Highlights Apple TV+'s Biggest Stars… Except Jon Hamm

Friday January 21, 2022 11:23 am PST by
Apple TV+ today shared a humorous new ad called "Everyone but Jon Hamm" that is set to air during NFL playoff games this weekend, according to Adweek. In the ad, actor Jon Hamm sits in a lavish home and scrolls through Apple TV+ while humorously complaining about how Apple's original TV shows and films feature numerous big-name celebrities, except for himself. Hamm refers to many stars...
samsung gaming hub

CES 2022: Samsung Gets Into NFTs and Gaming With Latest TVs

Monday January 3, 2022 10:34 am PST by
Samsung today introduced a number of new features that are coming to its 2022 TV sets, including a new Gaming Hub that will allow Samsung Smart TVs to compete with built-in services like Apple Arcade as well as various consoles. The Samsung Gaming Hub is a new Tizen-powered "discovery platform" that's meant to allow Samsung TV owners to play console-quality games through integration with...
apple lineup except the ipad is sad

Apple Reports All-Time Quarterly Revenue Records for iPhone, Mac, Wearables, and Services

Thursday January 27, 2022 1:50 pm PST by
Apple today reported its earnings results for the fourth quarter of 2021, which corresponds with the first quarter of the 2022 fiscal year. Overall, Apple reported revenue of $123.9 billion, which is an all-time quarterly record for the company. On a category-by-category basis, Apple also set all-time quarterly revenue records for the iPhone, Mac, Wearables, and Services:iPhone: $71.6...
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Highlights Services in 2021, Recaps Upcoming Features Like IDs on iPhone

Monday January 10, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today highlighted the continued growth and expansion of its services in 2021, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Maps, Apple Pay, Apple News, Apple Podcasts, Apple Fitness+, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and more. "Apple's world-class portfolio of services proved essential in 2021, as people worldwide sought new ways to keep entertained, informed, connected, and inspired," said...

Popular Stories

iOS 15

Everything New in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4: Face ID With a Mask, Emojis, Apple Card Widget, Universal Control and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 12:08 pm PST by
Apple today seeded the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 to developers for testing purposes, adding a slew of new features to the latest iOS operating systems. iOS 15.4 is the biggest update that we've had to iOS 15 to date, and it brings Universal Control, Face ID with a mask, new emojis, and tons more. Face ID With a Mask With iOS 15.4, there is now an option to unlock your iPhone...
iOS 15

iOS 15.4 Adds New Emoji Like Melting Face, Biting Lip, Heart Hands, Troll and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 11:33 am PST by
With the iOS 15.4 update that was introduced today, Apple has added support for Emoji 14, introducing a selection of new emoji like melting face, biting lip, heart hands, and more. There are 37 new emoji and 75 skin tone additions in Emoji 14, resulting in a total of 112 characters. New faces include melting face, saluting face, face with open eyes and hand over mouth, face with peeking eye, ...
intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
MAsk On Face ID iOS 15

iOS 15.4's Face ID With a Mask Feature Requires iPhone 12 or Newer

Thursday January 27, 2022 1:22 pm PST by
In today's iOS 15.4 beta that's available to developers, Apple added a useful new feature that changes the way Face ID works. There's now a Face ID with a Mask option that allows the iPhone to be unlocked when you're wearing a mask, but you need to have an iPhone 12 or newer. Right now, an iPhone can be unlocked with a mask if you have an Apple Watch for authentication to add an extra layer...
MAsk On Face ID iOS 15

iOS 15.4 Beta Lets You Use Face ID With a Mask On

Thursday January 27, 2022 10:54 am PST by
The iOS 15.4 beta that was introduced today added a new feature designed to allow Face ID to be used with a mask and without an Apple Watch for authentication. Apple says that the feature can "recognize the unique features around the eye" for authentication purposes. If you opt to use this feature during setup, you will need to rescan your face for Face ID. From there, Face ID will be able...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...