Apple's Big Sports Play Goes Beyond the Super Bowl Halftime Show
Speaker 1: It is Sports Ball Time for Apple. Yes, apple Music is a sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show, and it will be for a few years going forward, but Apple isn't just trying to be popular now with fans of football. Apple has its eye on all the balls as everyone buzzes about Apple's. Must see big halftime show with Rihanna. There's one more thing we're gonna be watching in the coming days. What will Apple do with another kind of football? The [00:00:30] soccer kind of football? Yes, I know this is not a real soccer ball, but it's all I have to work with today. Okay, thanks. Let's talk about Apple's Big play to change the sports streaming game. I'm Bridget Carey, and this is one more thing.
Speaker 1: Apple Music has replaced Pepsi as the Super Bowl halftime show sponsor and Pepsi had it for a decade long stretch the Apple Music sponsorship of the halftime show. It's gonna continue on for a few years, apple Music signed a multi-year [00:01:00] partnership with the nfl. The amount Apple paid is not officially known, but several outlets are reporting that Apple could have paid around 50 million for this event. And the Hollywood reporter added that Apple sponsorship may have been extra enticing for the NFL because it could make this show bigger, making it stand out beyond just the 12 minute performance of swinging around umbrella. Ella Ellas. And yes, apple has given a huge platform to Rihanna to not just be at the center of the field [00:01:30] We're talking about, this is one of television's most watched events and it's big pop culture moment. But Apple also has a platform with Apple Music and Apple TV plus to really promote this thing and push Rihanna content in all directions to tens of millions of its subscribers with podcasts and playlists pumping up the hype.
Speaker 1: Apple doesn't say how many people subscribe to Apple Music, but some groups estimate they're around 80 million subscribers. It is fascinating for Apple to have such a big presence in the Super [00:02:00] Bowl for a few reasons. Number one, apple is Apple. It doesn't need to participate in really big cultural events. Apple's not like Budweiser. It doesn't have to advertise in the big game, but it has advertised at the Super Bowl before. You may know the iconic 1984 Apple ad where a woman throws a sludge hammerer through a screen to break conformity with the introduction of the Macintosh. Many in the advertising world point to this commercial as something that has changed how advertising was done in the Super Bowl, making [00:02:30] it a big production spectacle. But Apple didn't do many more Super Bowl ads after that. There was a real downer. One the next year it was called Lemmings with PC users walking off a cliff. Yeah, that doesn't get talked about much. And in 1999 there was a Hal 2001 Space Odyssey reference about how Max won't get affected by the Y2K bug.
Speaker 2: You like your Macintosh better than me, don't you, Dave?
Speaker 1: None of these commercials actually showed Apple products. So yes, apple [00:03:00] does think differently. You could say about how it handles media according to the New York Times, the last time Apple did a big sponsorship was in 2016 when it's sponsored the Met Gala to get more attention for the Apple Watch in the world of fashion. So what does sponsoring the halftime show do for a company that doesn't really need to even show its products in its commercials? Yes, it is a great plug for Apple music, but the second thing to think about here is how Apple really wants to be a bigger part of the conversation around sports. And that [00:03:30] means sports streaming. The New York Times reported that the idea of Apple sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show bubbled up in conversations with the N F NFL to deepen business ties between the two mm. For a while, apple was negotiating with the NFL to get the rights to the NFL's Sunday ticket package.
Speaker 1: Now that didn't happen. YouTube TV and Google won that battle. It has the ticket for the next seven years. Maybe Apple walked away because it's a messy package for folks to pay more [00:04:00] to watch out of market games. The price for viewers has not been set yet, but there is an NBC sports report that has a source estimating it could cost you and me around $300 for access to the season. The rights to streaming sports is still a big act of battleground for all the big tech companies, and there's still a lot of time on the clock to make more deals. Look at Amazon Payne a reported 1.2 billion a year for the exclusive rights to Thursday night football. Other sports online streaming [00:04:30] rights are scattered all over different networks. NBC's Peacock has a deal to broadcast Sunday baseball games. YouTube had an exclusive baseball game deal for Wednesdays, and Amazon has Yankees games, at least for the New York area since it owns a piece of the Yankees Yes network.
Speaker 1: But Apple also has its own baseball deal. Apple is paying a reported 55 million to Major League Baseball for the rights to broadcast two weekly Friday games on Apple TV plus. And Apple also pays another 30 million [00:05:00] worth of advertising to the mlb. All that comes to about 50 games in a season. And that deal could go on for seven years. So if you're a baseball fan, that is a lot of jumping around to find your games. But the most interesting streaming sports deal right now is what Apple has done with Major League soccer. Apple TV plus has exclusive streaming rights to MLS games, and if you wanna access the season pass on Apple TV plus it's priced at about a hundred dollars. But if you're a subscriber, [00:05:30] it's a little less at about $80 for all the games and all the major League soccer clubs are going to wear an Apple TV plus patch on their Jersey sleeves this season.
Speaker 1: Games start in late February and Apple is going for something no one has done dominating all the rights for one sport. It's also been reported by the Daily Mail that Apple is entering the bidding war for the rights to stream the Premier League in 2025. And Apple made a documentary the European Super League, and Apple has that whole [00:06:00] Ted Lasso show, which is Apple TV's top rated show all about the sport. Apple had to pay the Premier League for the rights to use the archive footage and logos and whatnot. Is Tim Cook the king of soccer? Apple is dominating a single sport in a way we have not seen from other streamers. And it could be a test to show how Apple does sports differently and on Apple's terms, but now is when we have to call a timeout and talk to Cena's Ace reporter for all things sports streaming. Eli Blumenthal and I also just like talking to [00:06:30] him for all things sports. What is Apple doing differently here besides just putting the games on Apple TV plus?
Speaker 3: So Apple's owning the entire production, so that includes the games, but also a lot of content around the games. Behind the scenes shows a whip around show during game days that will bounce between live contests similar to NFL Red Zone. They really are taking over the entire MLS operation. What are
Speaker 1: You looking closely at as a sports fan when this season launches?
Speaker 3: So I'm looking at a couple of things. First and foremost, [00:07:00] how do the games look doesn't stream reliably. Whereas with the nfl, which is on the whole host of network, cbs, Fox, nbc, Amazon, espn, the, there are other ways to watch with mls, since Apple has the exclusive on it. If they have trouble with one game stream, that game might not be accessible or, or watchable. So seeing how well and reliably that goes on seeing what the games look like, does Apple take some risk? Go into 4k for example. Do they offer different [00:07:30] camera angles or different experiences beyond what we're accustomed to with traditional sports? It'll be, uh, curious to watch, well,
Speaker 1: Apple's putting everything into soccer. I can't help but think what other sports could they try to be going after next?
Speaker 3: Yeah, so one that is coming in the not too distant future is the rights to the NBA Apple's services head. Eddie Q is a well-known NBA fan, a well-known Golden State Warriors fan. He's posted pictures on his Twitter of him wearing the championship ring for the Warriors or one of their championship rings and has been [00:08:00] seen courtside numerous times with players like Stephen Curry. So it'll be interesting to see when that comes up in a couple years. Does Apple maybe look at what they've done with Major League Baseball, look at what they've done with Major League Soccer and turn to the NBA and make a play there?
Speaker 1: It's certainly on his mind, I'm assuming <laugh>. Well, thanks. We'll have to keep watching. You know, it's clear. Fans have a lot of fragmentation between different services to find their game, depending on the day, depending on the sport or even the team or where they live. Apple tends to want a clean experience. And [00:08:30] maybe scoring big with soccer is a way to show other big sports leagues what Apple can bring to a streaming experience that no one has seen before. Just like Apple showed a new way of handling a Super Bowl ad 38 years ago. Even if you are not into soccer or football or American NFL football or giant musical halftime shows, it's gonna be interesting where Apple grows next with sports. So I wanna hear from you, what has your experience been with catching sports on streaming networks? How many subscriptions do you have to keep track of and [00:09:00] what do you wanna see improved? Share your stories in the comments below. I'm Bridget Carey. Thanks for watching.