Soon, Apple TV+ may be like 90 percent soccer. Apple is “considering” bidding on the streaming rights for the UK rights to the Premier League and lower league matches run by the English Football League, according to a Bloomberg report.
Spokespeople for both Apple TV+ and the Premier League did not immediately respond to our inquiries regarding the potential bid.
Amazon Prime Video currently owns Premier League-streaming rights in the UK through the 2024-25 season; the Comcast-owned Sky also has (different) games there as well, as does BT Sport. The Premier League sold its domestic (domestically over there) rights for 2022-2025 for $6.3 billion.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock currently has the Premier League’s U.S. streaming rights through 2028, so don’t worry about those for now. The company, also owned by Comcast, paid a reported $2.7 billion for the privilege. An NBCU spokesperson did not immediately respond to our request for confirmation on the price tag.
A spokesperson for Sports on Prime Video did not immediately respond to IndieWire’s request for comment the future of its UK Premier League streaming rights.
Either way, Amazon will have UK rights for the Champions League — a different soccer league — starting in 2024. Amazon also exclusively streams the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” games, New York Yankees games in New York, and has a bunch of other international rights, including for the NBA in Brazil. In many ways, it has been an all-out beeline to the ball that is streaming sports rights between Amazon and Apple.
Not only does Apple TV+ already have soccer-comedy “Ted Lasso,” Apple is the streaming home to every Major League Soccer (MLS) game via its MLS Season Pass. The service can be accessed as either a TV+ add-on or as a standalone platform. “Lasso” and the Premier League already have synergy: At the start of Season 3, AFC Richmond is back in the Premier League following its promotion.
MLS Season Pass costs Apple TV+ subscribers an extra $12.99 per month, almost twice the price of TV+ itself ($6.99). Current subscribers can alternatively pay $79 for the entirety of the MLS season. For those who don’t want “Ted Lasso,” “Severance,” and “Acapulco,” MLS Season Pass will cost $14.99/month or $99 for the season. Also, you’re missing out on great shows.
The 2023 season kicks off a 10-year, $2.5 billion partnership between Major League Soccer and the tech giant, with all 29 clubs wearing the Apple TV logo as a sleeve patch in different colors on the club jerseys; season ticket holders for any MLS club receive the MLS Season Pass subscription for free.
Apple TV+ is really leaning into live sports. Last year, Apple streamed “Friday Night Baseball” games for free (though Letitia James still wasn’t happy about that) — this year, only paying Apple TV+ members can watch those games. That’s two live games (with no local blackout restrictions) every Friday for the 25-week baseball season. Unlike MLS Season Pass, one cannot get “Friday Night Baseball” a la carte.
Apple’s “Friday Night Baseball” will now be available in 60 countries around the world, compared to 12 last year. Other shows behind the paywall include “MLB Big Inning” (or baseball’s answer to “NFL RedZone”), pre- and post-game shows, “MLB Daily Recap,” and “MLB This Week,” condensed game recaps, highlights, and interviews.