MLB believes streaming deals will allow them to ‘increase the reach’ of games ‘nationally’

Ahead of the start of the 2022 season, MLB entered into exclusive rights deals with Apple TV+ and Peacock that allow the streaming services to air a number of games this year.

Apple TV+ exclusively broadcasts two games each week as part of its new “Friday Night Baseball” offer. The games are free from local blackout restrictions, but fans who want to watch them will eventually need to have an active subscription to the streaming service.

MLB also announced a broadcast rights deal with Peacock, which kicked off May 8 with game streams produced by NBC Sports for 18 consecutive weeks. As with Apple TV+, all Sunday morning MLB games on the platform will be exclusive broadcasts and will require an active subscription.

Revenue Manager Noah Garden believes that streaming deals allow MLB sports to reach greater heights and attract more fans in different countries, via Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:

We looked for ways to increase the reach of our games nationally. And even in the local market, the traditional linear beam has been under pressure. On top of that, you have the combination of cord-cutting and, more importantly, cord-never. And so the opportunity to have a partner like Apple, who can distribute our product – in this case, double titles on Friday nights – to a huge national but also international audience is something that appealed to us.

The other big thing for us, at least initially, is that it’s free, in front of a paywall. You don’t need to be an Apple+ subscriber to access it. We are very excited about this.

Garden also noted that the streaming deals with Apple TV+ and Peacock come at a time when more customers are canceling their cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of watching TV through streaming services.

While it may be difficult for less tech-savvy fans, there’s no doubt streaming deals will help MLB reach a wider audience.

MLB explains why Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson Day game was on Apple TV+

The Dodgers celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut with a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. The game with Robinson’s old team aired exclusively on Apple TV+ as part of its new “Friday Night Baseball” offering.

MLB putting the game exclusively on Apple’s platform drew criticism with the argument that it should have been more accessible. Garden explained that the decision actually allowed more people to watch.

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