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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Apple rumored to be prepping bid for English Premier League football streaming rights


Apple has dived into the live sports streaming arena in the last year, striking deals with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. Apple also entered advanced negotiations with the NFL for Sunday Ticket, but that deal ultimately went to YouTube.

However, the company does not seem to be slowing its ambitions. The British newspaper Daily Mail reports that Apple is gearing up to bid on a package of English Premier League football soccer streaming rights that is soon coming up for renewal.

Apple has already shown significant interest in the soccer arena.

For starters, Apple TV+‘s most popular series, Ted Lasso, is based around the beautiful game. Just yesterday, Apple TV+ premiered a docuseries on the ill-fated European Super League. And in the US, Apple struck a landmark deal with Major League Soccer.

This February, all MLS games (with no blackouts or restrictions) are exclusively available to stream inside the Apple TV app, with a new service called MLS Season Pass (priced at $14.99 per month or $99 per season). MLS Season Pass is discounted for TV+ subscribers, and a selection of games will be available for free.

That deal will cost Apple approximately $250 million per annum. Any English Premier League bid for domestic UK rights will represent a significantly larger investment — valued in the billions — as football is the premier sport of the UK.

In particular, the Daily Mail newspaper notes that the current three year deal with Sky Sports and BT Sport expires in 2025. The league will tender offers beginning later this year, and Apple is said to be stepping up to the plate.

Don’t expect Apple to capture exclusive rights, like they did with MLS. The Premier League packaging terms are such that no single broadcaster can capture rights to all games. Some games are also enforced to be offered on free-to-air BBC channels.

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