In an investor note, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said that Apple is working on widening the reach of Apple TV+ by adding live sports broadcast to its streaming service. The Cupertino-based company believes that this effort will strengthen its subscription base.
Ives noted that Apple hasn’t acquired a movie studio yet because it’s eyeing a piece of the live sports programming pie. Though Apple has remained tight-lipped about its Apple TV+ subscription numbers, the Wedbush analyst believes that it has approximately 45 million viewers, of which around 20 million are paid subscribers. This number is dwarfed by the 179 million subscriber base that Disney + boasts of as well as Netflix’s 209 million subscribers.
Apple, in an effort to keep up with the competition, is trying to boost its numbers by reportedly getting “ready to spend billions” on live sports streaming over the course of the next four years.
Wedbush analyst Ives noted:
With Apple spending $7 billion annually on original content and having roughly $200 billion of cash on its balance sheet, we believe the company is gearing up to bid on a number of upcoming sports packages coming up for contract/renewals in future years. We note that upcoming sports packages potentially for bid over the next four years that Apple can be involved with (in some capacity/semi-exclusive) are: NFL (Sunday Night Ticket), Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East, Big 12, other NCAA sports packages (2024 timing), NASCAR, and the NBA/WNBA.
The New York Post recently reported that Apple has been in serious talks with Major League Baseball (MLB) to broadcast next season’s games. Currently, Apple TV+ does not stream live TV. It only offers movies and on-demand television series. Amazon, one of Apple’s rivals, has already carved out a space for itself in the sports streaming space. It has closed a deal for the exclusive broadcast of NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” airing this fall.
Live sports coverage was earlier dominated by ESPN, NBC, and Fox Sports. Now tech companies such as Amazon and Apple have joined the fray to grab more eyeballs and net more subscribers.