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MLB, Apple TV agree to streaming deal

These are the first exclusive TV streaming games for Major League Baseball.

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Major League Baseball has been looking at possible over-the-top streaming for baseball TV broadcasts — as have the Cubs — and today the league announced a streaming deal with Apple TV+:

Apple and Major League Baseball (MLB) today announced “Friday Night Baseball,” a weekly doubleheader with live pre- and postgame shows that will be available to fans in eight countries exclusively on Apple TV+ as soon as the regular season begins.

In addition to “Friday Night Baseball,” fans in the US will be able to enjoy “MLB Big Inning,” a live show featuring highlights and look-ins airing every weeknight during the regular season. Baseball fans in the US and Canada will also have access to a new 24/7 livestream with MLB game replays, news and analysis, highlights, classic games, and more, as well as a full complement of on-demand programming, including highlights and MLB-themed original content.

These games will be available exclusively on Apple TV+. The league says they will be “free of local broadcast restrictions” — in other words, no blackouts. So that’s good, right?

Apple’s release, linked above, also says these games will be “for a limited time, without the need for a subscription.”

Translation: There will be a short time, whenever baseball starts this year, that these games will be given away for free, likely as a come-on to subscribe to Apple TV+. Existing Apple TV+ subscribers should get these games as a part of their subscription.

“Apple is the ideal partner to bring ‘Friday Night Baseball’ to fans around the world,” said Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer, in a statement. “Following milestones like the launch of At Bat on day one of the App Store in 2008 to the integration of Apple technology in ballparks across the country, this robust new game package is the perfect next collaboration in our long history of offering quality and innovative content to our fans. With national availability and international reach, MLB on Apple TV+ offers an exciting new platform to fans that allows a wider audience to connect with the game.”

There was no dollar figure noted in Apple’s press release. However, this article from January indicates a possible amount MLB would reap from this deal:

While the gap between ESPN’s old deal and the new fee amounts to $150 million a year, industry experts suggested that MLB sought $350 million per year for the weekday rights.

Again, this is more money coming in for baseball owners, likely split equally for every team, almost $12 million extra every baseball season if the $350 million figure is accurate.

Don’t believe owners when they cry poor.

Now, all we have to wait for is actual games to be played so they can be on this streaming service.