Texas Rangers first baseman Derek Dietrich (32) tags San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges (18) out at during the MLB game between the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers on August 17, 2020 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX.
Andrew Dieb | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
Broadcasts of Major League Baseball games on Apple TV+ this season will require a subscription to the service, Apple announced on Wednesday.
In 2022, Apple started broadcasting one or two MLB games every Friday night with a rotating cast of teams. Last year, although users had to sign up for an account, the games were free. Now, users will need an Apple TV+ subscription, which costs $7 per month in the U.S.
The move signals that Apple’s foray into live sports is transitioning from early experiments designed to attract new subscribers into a core part of how it justifies the price of its paid streaming subscription.
Earlier this year, Apple started broadcasting Major League Soccer games. While some games will air for free, a subscription with access to all games costs $14.99 per month, with a discount if the person also subscribes to Apple TV+.
So far, baseball and soccer are the only sports that Apple airs live. Apple bid on some NFL games, but a recently highly desired package of out-of-market games went to Google’s YouTube TV service.
Baseball fans who choose not to pay for a subscription do have workaround, though: They can catch Apple’s MLB games at sports bars and restaurants thanks to a new deal with DirectTV, the companies said.
Apple said the first “Friday Night Baseball” doubleheader broadcast will take place on April 7, featuring the Texas Rangers at the Chicago Cubs followed by the San Diego Padres at the Atlanta Braves.