Apple TV+ 'Friday Night Baseball' starts with big-time divisional matchups

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2022
"Friday Night Baseball" will premiere on April 8 starting off with two marquee games broadcast via Apple TV+.




Released on Tuesday, the first half of the 2022 "Friday Night Baseball" schedule outlines all of the games that will appear on the service from April 8 until June 24. Each of the 12 Fridays includes two games from the MLB, broadcast live to viewers around the world.

The opening Friday on April 8 will start with the New York Mets playing the Washington Nationals at 7p.m. Eastern, followed by the Houston Astros at the Los Angeles Angels at 9:30p.m. Eastern.

Future matches along with other features of the broadcasts including pre- and post-game coverage, will be announced at a later date.

As part of "Friday Night Baseball," fans will be able to watch key games without local broadcast restrictions. The weekly double-header will be viewable in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, and will be free for a limited time without a need for an Apple TV+ subscription.

The "Friday Night Baseball" games will be viewable on any device that can play Apple TV+ content, including the Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Mac, supported smart TVs, game consoles, and cable set-top boxes.

"Friday Night Baseball" is a major coup for Apple, with it venturing into the field of live sports broadcasting. It is believed that Apple paid around $85 million as part of a $115 million deal between it, NBC Sports, and the MLB.

The released first-half schedule follows:
  • Friday, April 8: New York Mets at Washington Nationals 7 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 8: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 15: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox 7 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 15: Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers 10 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 22: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 22: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 29: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals 8 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 29: Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants 10 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 6: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox 7 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 6: Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 13: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves 7 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 13: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 20: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 20: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros 8 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 27: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox 7 p.m. ET
  • Friday, May 27: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 3: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees 7 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 3: Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 10: Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins 8 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 10: New York Mets at Los Angeles Angels 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 17: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros 8 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 17: Cleveland Guardians at Los Angeles Dodgers 10 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 24: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals 8 p.m. ET
  • Friday, June 24: Detroit Tigers at Arizona Diamondbacks 9:30 p.m. ET
Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,854member
    I'm not a baseball fan, but I know a good number of them, I'm married to one. For the most part, they don't care about the big weekly matchup. They follow a particular team. So there's one game, June 10, Rays at Twins, that my SO might want to watch. Other then that it's MLB.com to see the rest of the Twins games. My SO will have no interest in getting ATV+ for this. I wonder how much of a a draw this will be for other baseball fans?
    iOS_Guy80
  • Reply 2 of 13
    DAalseth said:
    I wonder how much of a a draw this will be for other baseball fans?
    Not a huge draw. More like a perk that goes along with the subscription. Looks like a pretty good mix of teams across MLB. 
    iOS_Guy80
  • Reply 3 of 13
    I’m looking forward to it. I’m all in on ATV+ anyway, so it’ll be nice putting a game on on a Friday night (I’m a dad, Friday night socializing isn’t a thing for me anymore) outside of my market. Will be interested to see if Apple adds their own little personal touch to games. 
    iOS_Guy80
  • Reply 4 of 13
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,329member
    Any idea if these will just be rebroadcasts of the regional feeds? If so, home or away team or both options?
  • Reply 5 of 13
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,104member
    DAalseth said:
    I'm not a baseball fan, but I know a good number of them, I'm married to one. For the most part, they don't care about the big weekly matchup. They follow a particular team. So there's one game, June 10, Rays at Twins, that my SO might want to watch. Other then that it's MLB.com to see the rest of the Twins games. My SO will have no interest in getting ATV+ for this. I wonder how much of a a draw this will be for other baseball fans?
    Fantasy sports is a big deal these days so while most fans who follow team sports have a favorite team, if they are involved in a fantasy league, they will also follow individual players.

    This isn't unique to MLB, it's the same for NFL, NBA, NHL. My understanding is that fantasy leagues are very popular for the various pro football (soccer) leagues in Europe. Note that these fantasy leagues have driven widescale adoption of advanced sports analytics which in turn is heavily used in videogames (Madden, FIFA, etc.).

    Looking at the first half schedule, these Friday night Apple TV+ games have been very carefully chosen. These aren't likely to be contests between two MLB cellar dwellers. At least one team represents a major media market (NYC, LA, Chicago, Boston, SF Bay Area, etc.), is a traditional powerhouse or baseball town (like St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati) or has been strong in recent years. These teams will have the most popular fantasy players.

    This is more of a bonus for someone who is already on Apple TV+ especially millennials who consume more content on their mobile devices versus sitting in front of the boob tube. Most baseball TV coverage is monopolized by the cable TV providers; there is very little available via terrestrial broadcast. One or two MLB games a week isn't going to be a driver for more Apple TV+ subscriptions.

    If you were a baseball fanatic, you'd have an MLB TV subscription however you still have to contend with local blackouts. Apple TV+ won't change this.

    If these Friday Night games have significant viewership, this will provide Apple additional leverage to be considered a contender for other live sports broadcasts.
    edited March 2022 iOS_Guy80ronn
  • Reply 6 of 13
    1348513485 Posts: 360member
    mike1 said:
    Any idea if these will just be rebroadcasts of the regional feeds? If so, home or away team or both options?
    That's a very good question. I haven't heard of Apple hiring any broadcast team or camera crews, so I would think rebroadcast. 
  • Reply 7 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,854member
    mike1 said:
    Any idea if these will just be rebroadcasts of the regional feeds? If so, home or away team or both options?
    My SO has complained that when FB hosted a few games it was the home broadcast team. (The Twins were always playing away.)
  • Reply 8 of 13
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,104member
    13485 said:
    mike1 said:
    Any idea if these will just be rebroadcasts of the regional feeds? If so, home or away team or both options?
    That's a very good question. I haven't heard of Apple hiring any broadcast team or camera crews, so I would think rebroadcast. 
    Here's what the AI article says: "It is believed that Apple paid around $85 million as part of a $115 million deal between it, NBC Sports, and the MLB."

    That means that it will be NBC's national broadcast teams calling these games. NBC has the leverage to pick which games they broadcast on a Friday night. They aren't going to show Pittsburgh at Arizona or Texas at Baltimore.

    This isn't an Apple TV+ exclusive. They are streaming what is available as an existing OTA terrestrial broadcast (a.k.a. rabbit ears antenna) via local NBC affiliates. They have simply paid for the rights to digitally stream these specific games to certain markets.
    edited March 2022 BeatsJaphey
  • Reply 9 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    DAalseth said:
    I wonder how much of a a draw this will be for other baseball fans?
    Not a huge draw. More like a perk that goes along with the subscription. Looks like a pretty good mix of teams across MLB. 

    I’m looking forward to it. I’m all in on ATV+ anyway, so it’ll be nice putting a game on on a Friday night (I’m a dad, Friday night socializing isn’t a thing for me anymore) outside of my market. Will be interested to see if Apple adds their own little personal touch to games. 
    Can’t see how it won’t help. At $4.99 I’d imagine some fans would pay to see even just one game then watch some exclusives afterward. 
    mike1
  • Reply 10 of 13
    I’m looking forward to it. I’m all in on ATV+ anyway, so it’ll be nice putting a game on on a Friday night (I’m a dad, Friday night socializing isn’t a thing for me anymore) outside of my market. Will be interested to see if Apple adds their own little personal touch to games. 
    I wouldn't think they would use the local broadcast teams, but I don't know. It's a partnership with NBC, so maybe NBC is providing the on-air talent?
  • Reply 11 of 13
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    A lot of love here for last place teams. I get that many of them are from large markets, but where are the Phillies?
    meh
  • Reply 12 of 13
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,104member
    Japhey said:
    A lot of love here for last place teams. I get that many of them are from large markets, but where are the Phillies?
    meh
    As discussed before, it's not that there is love for last place teams. There is love for big media market teams. Of the twelve Fridays listed here, ten of them have at least one team from NYC, LA, or Chicago competing. This is unsurprising for a national OTA broadcast (NBC).

    And the two Fridays that don't have NYC/LA/Chicago feature the St. Louis Cardinals, the perennial NL powerhouse. The Astros play on one of these Fridays.

    This is only a first half schedule anyhow. The Phillies might be part of the Apple TV+ broadcast schedule for the second half of the season. Same with the Milwaukee Brewers who are also absent from this schedule.

    Also, there's likely a possibility that one of these matchups could be changed for something more attractive (e.g., if a team with low expectations does unexpectedly well).

    Moreover it should be reiterated that the Apple TV+ streaming rights covers some international markets. These places invariably gravitate to the big market teams like the Yankees or Dodgers. Teams like the Diamondbacks or Brewers aren't going to garner much interest in these international markets unless someone from that country is actually playing on those teams.
    edited March 2022
  • Reply 13 of 13
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    mpantone said:
    Japhey said:
    A lot of love here for last place teams. I get that many of them are from large markets, but where are the Phillies?
    meh
    As discussed before, it's not that there is love for last place teams. There is love for big media market teams. Of the twelve Fridays listed here, ten of them have at least one team from NYC, LA, or Chicago competing. This is unsurprising for a national OTA broadcast (NBC).

    And the two Fridays that don't have NYC/LA/Chicago feature the St. Louis Cardinals, the perennial NL powerhouse. The Astros play on one of these Fridays.

    This is only a first half schedule anyhow. The Phillies might be part of the Apple TV+ broadcast schedule for the second half of the season. Same with the Milwaukee Brewers who are also absent from this schedule.

    Also, there's likely a possibility that one of these matchups could be changed for something more attractive (e.g., if a team with low expectations does unexpectedly well).

    Moreover it should be reiterated that the Apple TV+ streaming rights covers some international markets. These places invariably gravitate to the big market teams like the Yankees or Dodgers. Teams like the Diamondbacks or Brewers aren't going to garner much interest in these international markets unless someone from that country is actually playing on those teams.
    I believe I acknowledged the big market priority in my original statement. I’ve been a fan of baseball for 45 years, and being from a mid-market city understand the back seat those teams take in the national media all too well. But the Phillies (my 2nd team since childhood) are far from being considered small or mid-market, and actually finished last season in 2nd place. That they were ignored while the last place Rangers, D-backs, and Nationals received 2 games each is a mystery to me. The Rangers/D-Backs/Nationals vs. anybody could hardly be considered the “marquee” or “key” game that the article described. That’s all I meant. But your international market argument makes sense and is not something I had considered. Anyway, hopefully we’ll get some Philly love after the break. But until then, 1 CLE game and 0 PHL games gets a big fat “meh” from me.  Cheers. 
    edited March 2022
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