According to a new report from research firm Wedbush, Apple is on an “aggressive hunt” for potential arrangements that would allow it to broadcast live sports content on its TV+ streaming service as part of a larger drive to raise subscription numbers.
Wedbush estimates that Apple TV+ has around 20 million paid subscribers among roughly 45 million viewers, with the rest taking advantage of free trials included with other Apple product purchases. Apple has not provided details on Apple TV+ subscriber numbers since the digital streaming service launched, but Wedbush estimates that Apple TV+ has around 20 million paid subscribers among roughly 45 million viewers.
That’s a small fraction of the number of subscriptions Disney+ and Netflix have. Knowing this, Apple is reportedly “ready to invest billions” on live sports content over the next four years to help Apple TV+ develop and become a key monetization engine in its burgeoning services ecosystem, which brought in $80 billion in revenue last year.
“We believe Apple is preparing to bid on a lot of major sports packages coming up for contract/renewals in the future years, given that it spends $7 billion yearly on original content and has around $200 billion in cash on its bank sheet. The NFL (Sunday Night Ticket), Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East, Big 12, additional NCAA sports packages (2024 timing), NASCAR, and the NBA/WNBA are among the upcoming sports packages that Apple could be associated with (in some capacity/semi-exclusively) during the next four years.”
Apple TV+ currently does not allow any form of live television and only provides access to on-demand television and movie programming, so Apple will have to create a new sports-oriented section.
The New York Post reported earlier this month that Apple has begun talks with Big League Baseball about a possible contract that would see the business broadcast MLB games next season, marking a major step into the field of live sports entertainment.