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Apple TV Plus’ next big swing makes it a Sky Sports and BT Sport rival

Apple is entering the live sports broadcasting arena. During its Peek Performance event the company announced it would be showing live Major League Baseball games during the upcoming season.

The new Friday Night Baseball show will offer two live and exclusive games every Friday night on Apple TV Plus during the MLB regular season. For a limited time, Apple isn’t requiring a subscription to watch.

Friday Night Baseball will be available to viewers in the United Kingdom as well as the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Peurto Rico and South Korea.

In the UK, that effectively makes Apple the latest streaming rival to sports broadcasters like Sky Sports and BT Sport, as well as other latecomers like Amazon Prime Video which has limited access to Premier League football, among other events.

While baseball might not be every Brit’s cup of tea, the entry into the live sports market could be hugely significant in the long term if the company decides to broaden its horizons beyond America’s pastime.

Apple has had rumoured interest in acquiring the rights to Premier League football in the past, while more recent reports say the company is in talks with the NFL to acquire the lucrative Sunday Ticket package.

As part of today’s announcement, fans in the US and Canada are effectively getting a new baseball channel. The 24/7 livestream will feature “MLB game replays, news and analysis, highlights, classic games, and more, as well as a full complement of on-demand programming, including highlights and MLB-themed original content.”

In the US, there’ll also be a live “MLB Big Inning” show available on weeknights during the regular reason. At the moment, it’s up for debate whether there’ll be any action to report on, as there’s an ongoing contract impasse between the league and its players.

“Just like all baseball fans, we can’t wait for the season to open,” said Peter Stern, Apple’s vice president of Services. “Baseball has a special place in the heart of so many Apple customers — not just in the United States, but in many countries around the world. We’re proud to make Apple TV+ the home for great baseball moments throughout the season.”

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