MLB recently re-upped its longstanding partnership with ESPN, but the Disney unit took a reduced number of games. The Apple talks center around the midweek contests not taken by ESPN, according to the sources, who were granted anonymity because the talks are private.
Representatives for MLB and Apple declined to comment on the agreement. The New York Post was the first to report the news.
Digital streaming companies continue to make slow but noticeable headway into the live sports media landscape. After years of working with Amazon on a Thursday night simulcast, the NFL recently granted the company exclusive rights to Thursday night games starting next year. Other companies like Facebook and Twitter have inked deals across many different U.S. leagues.
Apple has also spoken with the NFL about the Sunday Ticket package, according to multiple reports. The NFL’s current agreement with AT&T’s DirecTV is up after the 2022 season.
Last May, MLB and ESPN inked a new $4 billion seven-year deal, which runs from 2022-2028. Under the agreement, ESPN reduced the number of live games it would carry to about 30, down from roughly 90 in prior seasons. ESPN essentially kept its Sunday night broadcasts and a handful of midweek games, shedding the bulk of its Monday and Wednesday night productions.
Apple and MLB have a pre-existing relationship. In 2016 the two struck a deal a multiyear deal to let each team use Apple’s iPad tablets in the dugout during games, something that previously wasn’t allowed.