Business

Apple Will Promote Siri and Apple Music on Its First Live Sports Broadcast

Jasen Vinlove | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters
  • Apple's first foray into live sports starts on Friday with the broadcast of two Major League Baseball games on Apple TV+.
  • The MLB Network-produced show, "Friday Night Baseball," will be available without an Apple TV+ subscription for now.
  • The broadcast will include several on-screen tie-ins with Apple products.

Apple's first foray into live sports starts on Friday with the broadcast of two Major League Baseball games on Apple TV+.

The MLB Network-produced show, "Friday Night Baseball," will be available without an Apple TV+ subscription for now, the tech giant said on Thursday.

The broadcast will include several on-screen tie-ins with Apple products, including on-screen graphics highlighting batter walk-up music available on Apple Music and baseball trivia with Siri.

The "Friday Night Baseball" free live sports launch highlights the company's strategy of marketing its streaming service to potential subscribers. The broadcast's promotion of other Apple services also underscores what looks to be a deep production-based partnership with MLB.

The Friday launch is part of Apple's push to harness success of its iPhone and the cash flow it generates to expand into online services. Apple introduced Apple TV+ in 2019 for $5 per month, and initially focused on big-budget scripted TV shows and movies.

The broadcast is also a test of whether Apple's strategy to offer TV+ on non-Apple platforms, like the web, other set-top boxes, or gaming consoles, can significantly boost its audience. While subscriber numbers for Apple TV+ haven't been released, one of its movies, "Coda," won the Oscar for best picture.

Apple and pro baseball share a long history: MLB released one of the first apps for the iPhone back in 2008.

On Friday, Apple will broadcast the New York Mets at the Washington Nationals at 7 p.m. ET, and then the Houston Astros at the Los Angeles Angels at 9:30 p.m. ET. The first game will be called by Melanie Newman with Chris Young adding color. The second game will be called by Stephen Nelson with Hunter Pence as analyst. It will offer both pregame and postgame coverage.

The games will only be available on Apple's service, not through a local cable network or MLB's streaming service. They're also available internationally, including Japan, Canada, South Korea and the U.K.

Apple also said on Thursday that it will broadcast a weekly preview of upcoming MLB games and a daily recap of action around the league.

While Friday is Apple's first live sports broadcast, other streaming services have experimented with adding live sports to gain access to a bigger audience. In 2019, Amazon streamed several Yankees games and it has also aired "Thursday Night Football" games.

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