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Apple Could Challenge Amazon in Live Streaming Sports

Apple is said to be in "serious" talks to broadcast baseball games, a deal will mark its entry into sports, a space very coveted by Amazon.
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Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report vs. Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report; Siri vs. Alexa; TV+ vs Prime: Gloves might be off soon between the two tech giants.  The iPhone maker is said to be on the verge of entering sports, a space where the e-commerce giant is building a fortress to win the streaming war.

Apple is in "serious" discussions with MLB to broadcast Major League baseball games next season, according to Andrew Marchand from The New York Post.

 MLB has also spoken to Amazon, according to The Post.

The package MLB has been attempting to sell is weekday national games that ESPN recently relinquished. ESPN will no longer have regular Monday and Wednesday games. 

This comes at a time when streaming services are competing for original content to attract new subscribers and retain existing ones. It's also happening in a market where sports are one of the few forms of content people watch live rather than on-demand.

Apple and MLB did not respond to requests for comment.

Apple is Behind in Streaming

Apple hasn't published official subscriber numbers for its TV+ streaming service since it launched in 2019, but, according to CNBC, the tech giant, in September, told the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees that TV+ has fewer than 20 million subscribers in the US and Canada as of July 1.

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20 million is but a fraction of the number of subscribers the biggest streaming services have: Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report claimed 214 million subscribers as of September 30, while Disney+ (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report claimed almost 120 million. In April, Jeff Bezos said more than 175 million Amazon Prime members had streamed shows and movies in the past year. No updates were given during the second or third quarters.

A potential MLB-Apple deal would not be anywhere close to the magnitude of the NFL and Amazon- which is for more than a billion dollars per year-  but MLB and Apple would be the entree for the technology behemoth into the coverage of top live sports.

Apple has so far resisted entering the sports broadcasting world, although one of its most popular shows is "Ted Lasso," a comedy about an American football coach drafted to lead a British soccer team.

Amazon Wants to Be a Sports Player

Amazon Prime has made it clear it wants to be a major player in sports.

Next NFL season, Amazon Prime Video will become the exclusive home to “Thursday Night Football.” Internationally, Amazon Prime Video has become won rights for top soccer events, including the Premier League. 

The group founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos is also developing sports programs, according to The Post, in hopes of potentially having a full daily lineup to compete with prominent shows such as ESPN’s “Get Up” and “First Take” and FS1’s “Undisputed.”

Major League Baseball has previously put games on Facebook and Twitter. 

Apple and MLB have a long-term relationship, dating back to MLB app becoming one of the first on the App Store in 2008.