You’ll Need an Apple TV+ Subscription to Watch ‘Friday Night Baseball’ This Year

Or a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, under the streamer's new deal with DirecTV for Business.
Chicago Cubs Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball
The Chicago Cubs will take on the Texas Rangers to kick off this season of "Friday Night Baseball" on Apple TV+.
Getty Images

Baseball is nearly back, but watching certain primetime games this year will cost you the price of an Apple TV+ subscription.

Apple announced Wednesday that “Friday Night Baseball” will return for the 2023 MLB season in its same format as last year, with one key difference: Rather than offer the games for free (as it did in its inaugural year, even without a subscription), live games are behind the paywall for Season 2.

That’s two live games (with no local blackout restrictions) every Friday for the 25-week baseball season and a bundle of other MLB content for $6.99 per month. It’s still much cheaper than Apple TV+’s subscription to MLS Season Pass ($12.99/month or $79/year) — but unlike the streamer’s soccer offering, you can’t get Friday Night Baseball a la carte.

If you have to watch all 162 games of your favorite team, you also will get “Ted Lasso” and you will like it. There is an alternative, but it requires going to Buffalo Wild Wings every Friday: Apple also announced a new deal with DirecTV for Business, which will bring Friday Night Baseball into more than 300,000 restaurants, bars, hotels, and other venues across the country.

A rep for Apple didn’t respond to an additional request for comment as to how “Friday Night Baseball” performed in its first year, or the conversion rate around those who watched the free product and made the switch to a paid subscription. (No surprise; Apple doesn’t disclose subscriber numbers, either.) However, “Friday Night Baseball” was one of the big test balloons for introducing ads to Apple TV+, which (for now) is the last major streamer to not offer an ad-supported tier.

Apple’s “Friday Night Baseball” will now be available in 60 countries around the world, compared to 12 last year. The Apple News app includes personalized MLB highlights and other stories. 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. Apple Music will even have official “Friday Night Baseball” playlists featuring walk-up songs from the competing teams that week. (Some of that content will be free without a subscription.)

Last year’s “Friday Night Baseball” games did stand out for their production values,and they’ll have more players wearing mics this year with drones to film the games. They’re even standing by the numbers behind some of those controversial real-time probabilities, the ones that suggested Marcus Semien would have a better chance of getting on base with an 0-2 count than he did at 0-0.

As for changes to the booth, “Friday Night Baseball” will welcome the tandem of Wayne Randazzo (play-by-play), Dontrelle Willis (analyst), Heidi Watney (sideline reporter), as well as the trio of Alex Faust (play-by-play), Ryan Spilborghs (analyst), and Tricia Whitaker (sideline reporter).

Live pre- and postgame coverage will again be hosted by Lauren Gardner, along with Siera Santos. Former MLB players Xavier Scruggs and Matt Joyce will serve as analysts alongside baseball journalist Russell Dorsey. And Apple has followed along with the major rule changes coming to baseball this year and will bring in two former MLB umpires, Brian Gorman and Dale Scott, to serve as rules analysts during the games.

Weekly doubleheaders for “Friday Night Baseball” kick off, ironically, with a day game at Wrigley Field when the Chicago Cubs take on the Texas Rangers, followed by the Atlanta Braves hosting the San Diego Padres. You can see the full schedule of games announced up through June 30 below.

2023 “Friday Night Baseball” Schedule on Apple TV+

Friday, April 7

Texas Rangers at Chicago Cubs – 2 p.m. ET

San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves – 7 p.m. ET

Friday, April 14

San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers – 6:30 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox – 7 p.m. ET

Friday, April 21

Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees – 7 p.m. ET

Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves – 7 p.m. ET

Friday, April 28

Philadelphia Phillies at Houston Astros – 8 p.m. ET

St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers – 10 p.m. ET

Friday, May 5

Chicago White Sox at Cincinnati Reds – 6:30 p.m. ET

Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians – 7 p.m. ET

Friday, May 12

Kansas City Royals at Milwaukee Brewers – 8 p.m. ET

Chicago Cubs at Minnesota Twins – 8 p.m. ET

Friday, May 19

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays – 7 p.m. ET

Seattle Mariners at Atlanta Braves – 7 p.m. ET

Friday, May 26

San Diego Padres at New York Yankees – 7 p.m. ET

Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers – 6:30 p.m. ET

Friday, June 2

Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds – 5 p.m. ET

Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins – 8 p.m. ET

Friday, June 9

Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles – 7 p.m. ET

Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels – 9:30 p.m. ET

Friday, June 16

Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers – 8 p.m. ET

Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners – 10 p.m. ET

Friday, June 23

Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins – 6:30 p.m. ET

New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies – 7 p.m. ET

Friday, June 30

Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates – 7 p.m. ET

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Angels – 9:30 p.m. ET

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