Apple has just bought the rights to Major League Soccer, the first football league in the United States. This investment by the American giant marks a revolution in the world of sports broadcasting, where historical television channels are seeing competitors with colossal budgets arrive.
Apple to pay $2.5 billion over 10 years to become exclusive broadcaster globally
After Amazon, Apple breaks its piggy bank for football. The firm at the apple has indeed agreed to pay 2.5 billion over 10 years to become the exclusive worldwide broadcaster of the North American football championship. We are not talking about American football, which resembles rugby, but about the championship of what the Americans call soccer. Football as it is played in Europe will therefore be reserved for viewers who download the Apple TV application and subscribe to the football option. It is a major economic event because it shows that after Amazon, which offered itself the rights to a good part of our Ligue 1 championship, another digital giant is betting billions on sports rights. This means that classic football broadcasters like Canal+ have reason to be worried.
Indeed, many generations have experienced a revolution in the broadcasting of sporting events. In the 70s, football was often only on the radio. We just had Téléfoot on Sunday on TF1 and the matches of the Blues on TV. With the birth of Canal+ in the 80s, football moved to the small screen. We also had the Champions League on TF1. Then in the 2000s, almost all football, apart from the national team, ended up going to pay channels. Today we are seeing the emergence of new players who pose a double problem for historical broadcasters such as Canal+ or beIN, but also for ESPN in the United States or Sky in England. Apple, Amazon or Facebook are so rich that they have almost unlimited financial means. The second problem is that broadcasting matches is only a side activity for them. They only do this to attract and retain customers for their core business in commerce or smartphones. Thus, they can afford to sell these services at low prices. Canal+ faces competitors who pay more to earn less and who don’t care. The problem for historical broadcasters is therefore complicated.
The American football league is the fastest growing in the world
For Apple, the bet is therefore not too risky. He will pay 250 million per year for 10 years. For a group that generates a net result of almost 100 billion per year, this does not even correspond to a day’s profit. In short, a simple drop of water spent. For this price Apple is the first to become the exclusive worldwide broadcaster of a pro sport. This is unheard of. In the United States, soccer is less popular than American football, baseball, basketball or hockey, but it is the fastest growing soccer league in the world. They have players from over 80 countries. In addition the World Cup will be in North America in 2026 so this sport will continue to grow in popularity with a very young audience. Finally, in this country of more than 300 million inhabitants with a real sports culture, you should know that football attracts more people to the stadiums on average than in France. It is therefore not a second division championship that the iPhone manufacturer has just offered itself.