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 National Football League games recently went to Google’s YouTube TV service.
One way to watch Apple’s MLB games without a paid subscription: Sports bars and restaurants will be able to broadcast the games thanks to a new deal with DirectTV, the companies said.
Apple said that the first Friday Night Baseball broadcast this year will take place on April 7, featuring the Texas Rangers at the Chicago Cubs and later the San Diego Padres at the Atlanta Braves.