Apple Inc. could be a part of MLB history Friday, and that’s creating headaches for Yankees fans. Apple Inc. aired its first baseball game only a few months ago, and now it could be a part of MLB history. If Apple is part of the MLB, it would be the first time in history that a technology company would be part of the league. This news is causing headaches for Yankees fans because they are not sure how this will affect their team.
Aaron Judge is one home run away from tying Roger Maris's American League record of 61 home runs in a season, set in 1961. Judge could tie or break the mark during Apple's online broadcast of the Yankees game against the Boston Red Sox.
This game will be available on Apple TV+, which is free to download. However, some viewers may not have access to a web-enabled TV or be able to watch TV on their computers or phones.
This could be a big moment for Apple, which is trying to become a major player in sports broadcasting. This season, the company began streaming two Friday night baseball games on its Apple TV+ service. In June, it bought the rights to stream Major League Soccer. And it’s in the running to acquire rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket, an out-of-market package now held by DirecTV. Friday’s game could give Apple its biggest baseball audience yet.
Some fans have complained about finding games in the fragmented media landscape. This season, Yankees followers who wanted to watch every game needed to have multiple streaming services - Peacock, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video - as well as YES and other cable channels. If you live outside the New York area, you also need MLB.TV.
Friday's game also presents an awkward scenario for Major League Baseball, which would prefer that its historic moments be seen by the largest audience possible.
Apple's TV service is believed to have far fewer users than the approximately 70 million US cable and satellite TV customers. However, Apple's baseball games are free and available in 12 countries, creating a global audience that could see Judge break a baseball record. The team tweeted instructions on how to access the broadcast.
In a video posted Thursday on his Twitter account, comedian Jon Stewart promoted Apple's Yankees broadcast on Friday night. Stewart, who has a show on Apple TV+, encouraged fans to tune in for what promises to be an exciting game. "See Aaron Judge chase history!" Stewart said. "All you need is the app!"
As Judge inches closer to 61 home runs, sports broadcasters are vying for a piece of the action. This week, ESPN cut into its regular programming to show his at-bats. However, ESPN won't have the rights to do that during Friday's game on Apple TV+.
TBS announced Thursday that it will air the Sept. 27 Yankees game, which could feature Judge vying for the home-run record as well as the American League Triple Crown. The network picks which late-season games to show about a week ahead of time in order to get the most compelling matchups.
The YES Network, which airs Yankees games, is having its best year for viewership in 11 years, thanks in part to Judge's prolific season. According to a spokesperson for the network, the audience is up 24% from last year.
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