Apple seems to be preparing to launch its movement in live sports. Last week, he hired an Amazon director, James DeLorenzo, to lead the broadcast of a sports action on Apple TV +. Such a move always made sense, but even more so now.
Quality is crucial
It seems like we have a long way to go before people go to stadiums and arenas to see their favorite sports teams live. This does not mean that people do not want to watch the games. In fact, with leagues around the world coming back in camera, the opposite is true. Apple could and should get some of this action.
Given Apple TV +’s limited catalog, live sports would be a welcome addition to the service. I can see him start with college sports and then move on. The quality of the offer will however be crucial. Whatever one thinks of the dramas, documentaries and comedies currently on the Apple TV + list, they feature a coterie of renowned actors and directors. The same must be true if the service also begins to offer sport. It cannot be just a random series of ESPN deletions. Doing this is expensive, but doable.
In addition to quality, it will be essential to ensure that Apple TV + displays the same content in all countries where it is available. Since there is only original content on the service at the moment, there are no rights issues and Apple TV + is consistent around the world. Maintaining this will become much more complex if Apple delves into the world of sports. There are regional blackout issues in the United States. Here in the UK, no football is allowed to be broadcast live between 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on a Saturday (although this blackout was lifted for the rest of the season during the coronavirus pandemic) .
Slow start could hamper sport on Apple TV +
Most of these problems are overcome. The biggest problem is that Apple has been a little slower. Amazon Prive Video has already entered Premier League football and also broadcasts top-level tennis. The rival streaming service Dazn is also growing.
In the end, pandemic or no pandemic, Apple should really have done a lot of work on this when launching the service, without appointing a senior manager seven months after it went live. It will take time for Apple to get the rights and sort through the technical logistics and it feels a little further back in the race than it should be.
So there is still ground to catch up. However, Apple is more than capable of doing this, and hopefully the recent hiring is a step in that direction.