A massive new report claims tech giant Apple is considering bidding for the streaming rights to some English Premier League football, as well as lower league games in the UK.
While we’ve heard murmurings of Apple dipping its toe into English soccer previously, this is the first report from a reliable outlet. According to Bloomberg (opens in new tab), Apple Inc. is considering bidding for the streaming rights to a range of English football games, according to people familiar with the situation.”
It follows Apple’s $2.5 billion deal to stream MLS games on Apple TV Plus for the next ten years. The report notes this would pit Apple against both Comcast and Warner Bros. discovery Inc. The former owns UK broadcasting titan Sky, while the latter has agreed to a joint venture with BT sport. Amazon is also now a player in the market, streaming a few gameweeks on Prime Video each season.
Apple TV Premier league?
Apple has reportedly listed “sports media veterans” Jim DeLorenzo and Frank Uddo to help build up Apple TV Plus. One expert told Bloomberg the pair would “know the value that international football can bring to the system.”
Peter Hutton, formerly a media partnerships exec at Meta, said Apple “will be looking closely at their early data on MLS and MLB experiments, but the unique ability of sport to change a predefined audience’s behavior means it’s a safer bet than entertainment content to grow the Apple TV international market.”
As per the report, the Premier League currently has a deal with Sky, BT Sport, and Amazon for live games through 2025. The English Football League (The three tiers below the Premier League) have rights starting in 2024. That means if Apple is successful it may be some time before we see live games on Apple TV Plus but never say never. The company is no stranger to doing business with the Premier League, having secured the official rights to some of its content for the new season of Ted Lasso, airing now on the streaming platform.
Apple this week announced the return of Friday Night Baseball to Apple TV Plus, now available in 60 countries. Apple has made some big changes to its announcer lineup, and the show is no longer free, requiring an Apple TV Plus subscription to enjoy.