MLS also in Germany
This is how football streaming works: Apple shows Sky where the hammer hangs
From now on, the ball is also rolling on Apple TV. And at the same time, Apple is showing what is possible beyond just broadcasting the games. If the group also goes hunting for licenses in Europe, established providers will have to dress warmly.
Where there’s football, customers come there by themselves. For a long time, Sky was able to rest on its licenses in this country, the viewers had to endure technical shortcomings. DAZN hasn’t changed much about that either, especially since the British provider is gradually threatening to shoot itself out of business with enormous price increases (instead of one subscription, there are now three – with prices up to 40 euros). However, streaming giants such as Amazon and Apple have also been dealing with sports broadcasts for some time – and the latter is now showing that the future of Sky and Co. is probably hanging by a thin thread of licenses.
Apple is now showing Major League Soccer (MLS), the highest division in US and Canadian soccer. While that’s no reason for German customers to turn their backs on Sky and DAZN, Apple demonstrates with playful ease what beautiful football streaming can look like – and will certainly arouse the desires of German fans.
Football streaming can be so beautiful
It turns out that even good football streaming is ultimately a question of design. While local providers limit themselves to transmitting the games more or less reliably at any given time, Apple is building a whole home for football. Each club gets a topic page from Apple, as a fan you can specify your favorite teams and thus unleash a flow of useful information that you would otherwise only get from third-party providers.
As a spectator, Apple takes you by the hand and not only gives you information about upcoming games, but also the current game day and everything that happens during the first and second half of the season. True to American taste, Apple fills the game breaks with interviews, player portraits, club films and additional information that should ensure that you can not only deal with your favorite club on the day of the game.
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Not only on the television, by the way: Apple can also send current information directly to the home screen of the iPhone, including current scores or upcoming matches that you might otherwise have missed.
Even Apple Maps is part of the programme, as once the season kicks off on February 25, fans will be able to explore dedicated matchday guides from MLS clubs and get recommendations for local bars and restaurants broadcasting the games.
On the day of the game, Apple delivers what you know from Sky and Co. – live broadcasts, analyzes and summaries so you don’t miss anything. The group employs its own team of analysts, moderators and commentators for this purpose. How they fare remains to be seen.
Apple has not yet commented on the technology used – so it is still unclear whether the games will end up with viewers in 4K resolution and with Dolby Atmos, for example.
If only it were the Bundesliga…
Probably the best news for Sky and DAZN is that Apple is initially limited to MLS and thus primarily to the American market. The company did not want to comment on any negotiations about European licenses.
But if Apple also wants to be successful with sports broadcasts in Germany, it will be difficult to stick with the current offer, because Apple does not differentiate between domestic fans and interested parties in other countries in terms of price. The MLS Season Pass costs 14.99 euros per month here and there or 99 euros for the entire season.
That would be a very good price for the Bundesliga, for MLS it should be very ambitious in Germany. This also applies to the reduced prices, because if you have an Apple TV+ subscription, you pay 12.99 euros per month or 79 euros per season. Such a subscription can be shared with up to six family members.
As soon as Apple is interested in the rights to the Bundesliga, things get extremely interesting. The technology and, above all, the presentation is already superior to the current providers – and the prices are significantly fairer. So things may get exciting very soon, because in 2024 the TV rights for 2025 will be reassigned. The call for applications begins this summer. The transmission rights should cost at least 1.1 billion euros – which would be easy for Apple to shoulder if the group were interested.
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