Apple is reportedly considering expanding its array of live sports coverage with a blockbuster bid to acquire the global rights to Formula 1 racing.
According to a new report from Business F1 magazine (page 11), Apple could bid a whopping $2 billion a year to supplant the current broadcasters and dominate the race worldwide. The report says Apple has “wargamed” out the potential for a massive offer.
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Thus far, Apple has only made deals that has given the company the ability to stream the action to subscribers around the world. Primarily, the company has acquired the global rights to Major League Soccer and offers it via an MLS Season Pass.
That deal played a major role in facilitating the arrival of Leo Messi in the league, with a percentage of streaming revenue from Season Pass going into Messi’s back pocket.
Global rights are also available for its Friday Night Baseball games, which was the company’s first major foray into live sports.
So, it would make sense that Apple would seek the global rights for F1, but that would require the sport’s organisers to believe a global deal would be more beneficial than continuing its lucrative relationships with the likes of Sky in the UK and ESPN in the United States.
However, this reports would suggest Apple may start off by picking up the rights in some countries and gradually scooping up the rest when they become available. The report says Apple would seek to sign a seven year deal with F1 with a view to showing in more countries as time goes on. The report says some of F1’s existing agreements with broadcasters run until 2029.
The report (via 9to5Mac) says: “Under such a deal Apple would offer a sliding scale accordsing to how much exclusivity it was able to access. Initially it is thought Formula 1 Group would be able to offer 25 percent exclusivity rising to 100 percent after five years as all the existing contracts run out.”