Major League Baseball and Apple announced “Friday Night Baseball,” a new weekly doubleheader with live pre- and postgame shows that will be available exclusively on Apple TV+ once the 2022 regular season begins.
The Friday night games will be free from local broadcast restrictions, but fans will not be able to watch designated streams via team broadcasts or an MLB.TV subscription.
The service will initially begin without the need for a subscription, but fans will eventually need to subscribe to Apple TV+ to continue watching, making it a potential fourth service needed to watch games, along with MLB TV, a live TV service, and YouTube.
“Apple is the ideal partner to bring ‘Friday Night Baseball’ to fans around the world,” MLB’s chief revenue officer Noah Garden said 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.”
“Friday Night Baseball” will be available on Apple TV+ in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, and will expand to additional countries at a later date.
In addition to “Friday Night Baseball,” fans in the U.S. will be able to enjoy “MLB Big Inning,” a live show featuring highlights and look-ins that will air every weeknight during the regular season.
Baseball fans in the U.S. 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.
Apple and MLB will also provide enhanced league and team coverage for fans to easily follow the league or their favorite teams in Apple News, with the ability to watch highlights right in the News app.
“Just like all baseball fans, we can’t wait for the season to open,” Apple’s vice president of services Peter Stern said.
“Baseball has a special place in the heart of so many Apple customers — not just in the United States, but in many countries around the world. We’re proud to make Apple TV+ the home for great baseball moments throughout the season.”
Apple TV is available on all Apple devices, as well as online. The app is also available on Amazon Fire TV, Roku devices, Chromecast with Google TV, select smart TVs, gaming consoles, and some set-top cable and satellite boxes.
MLB lockout likely to extend through April
More than three months have passed since MLB team owners unanimously voted to impose a lockout once the 2017-21 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired and not much progress has been made.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has already canceled Opening Day and the first two series of the 2022 regular season. Since that time additional Spring Training games have been lopped off the schedule.
As MLB and the union continue meeting this week before yet another deadline, there isn’t much hope for a new CBA to be in place so that the season could begin in April.
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