Apple TV+ will have its first major sporting moment with Yankees-Red Sox

Teammate Aaron Judge No. 99 Giancarlo Stanton greets No. 27 of the New York Yankees after he scored two first-half goals during the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Thursday, July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Alex Trautweg | Major League Baseball | Getty Images

The most anticipated sports match on TV on Friday won’t be on TV.

It’s streaming on Apple TV +.

An apple The streaming service has exclusive rights to the Red Sox who play in the Yankees on Friday. The game has garnered attention not only because the Yankees are likely tied up in a playoff and play their first opponent, but also because their superstar Aaron Judge is close to competing. MLS record at home and could break it on Friday.

It’s a major test of Apple’s ambition to become a live sports service and whether high-profile gaming can boost Apple’s subscriber numbers or serve other business goals, such as making Apple products more valuable to existing users. Apple’s baseball broadcasts don’t follow one team, instead opting for a marquee game or two every Friday night. But while there have been high-profile games and top stars this year, this Friday will see the biggest star of baseball’s most valuable team chasing a decades-old record.

Sports broadcasting can be a powerful tool to attract users to new services. For example, when Amazon Prime aired Thursday Night Football last week, it pulled in the most new Prime subscriptions over three hours in the company’s history, outpacing big shopping days like Black Friday, according to Note seen by CNBC.

However, professional football is still a much bigger draw in the United States than baseball. (Nielsen says so 13 million people watched the Amazon NFL broadcast last week; 400,000 viewers is a good night for YES, according to New York Daily News. Amazon is a partial owner of YES.)

When Apple began streaming MLB earlier this year, it said the games were free for a “limited time” but it had not yet begun charging for access to baseball games. Currently, users only need an Apple ID – an account – but don’t need to pay $5 a month for an Apple TV+. Although the service is free, some users have expressed it frustration About not showing games on their regular channel with their regular broadcasters.

The expectation for Friday’s match is so high that major Yankees channel YES has unsuccessfully tried to snatch the broadcast back from Apple, The New York Post reported on Thursday.

Apple has never disclosed the number of subscribers or viewers for any of its shows or broadcasts on Apple TV +. He has taken the quality over quantity approach and Focuses on awards as a key metric To judge the success of their written programs.

In a break from its historical preferences, it has made Apple TV+ apps for many non-Apple platforms, including Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV, Google TV, and game consoles, allowing its broadcasts to reach a broader market.

In addition to baseball, Apple also has a file Engage with Major League Soccer to broadcast its matches exclusively. But the NFL remains the biggest award for sports broadcasting. As previously reported by CNBCApple has made an offer to purchase the NFL Sunday Ticket, a bundle of rights to out-of-market NFL games that competes with Amazon and parent Disney’s ESPN.

Apple declined to comment on viewership numbers.

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