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A big FIFA deal Might help Apple’s Streaming Business

Reportedly, Apple is putting more emphasis on live sports by entering into a groundbreaking deal with FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, which would grant it the global television rights to a new event.

The New York Times claimed that three sources said the TV contract could be disclosed this month. The event will be in the US next summer.

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Typically, FIFA forms partnerships with many TV providers in different nations for global tournaments like the World Cup. However, this cooperation with Apple would be rare for FIFA.

Some FIFA senior executives worry that the Apple arrangement may omit free-to-air rights, limiting the tournament to Apple TV+ consumers. The Times reported this.

“As a general practice, FIFA does not confirm or deny commercial discussions,” a spokeswoman from FIFA told Fortune.

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Messi Mania Boosts Apple TV+ Subscriptions: Over 100,000 Sign Up After Star’s Debu

Last year, Apple paid $2.5 billion to gain the streaming rights for Major League Soccer for a 10-year exclusive arrangement. Apple was ahead of its time with the deal, which it called MLS Season Pass. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple TV+ subscriptions increased by over 100,000 in a single day, up from approximately 6,000 the day prior, following World Cup winner Lionel Messi’s debut game for MLS Club Inter Miami CF in June.

In 2023, Apple’s services business sector brought in $85.2 billion in net revenues, an increase of 9% from $78.1 billion the previous year, as stated in the company’s most recent 10K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Despite this, Apple does not disclose how much money Apple TV+ made.

Due to streaming firms’ increasing focus on live sports as a growth driver, competition for live sports has recently intensified. Amazon Prime has finished its second year of a $1 billion-per-season deal to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football programming, while Peacock streamed its third exclusive National Football League game in March. Live sports agreements have also recently attracted more attention from Apple.

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Apple Enters NBA Streaming Race: Eyes on the Court After MLB Deal

According to Monday’s story in the Athletic, the internet business is vying for the rights to stream certain NBA games, competing with services like Netflix, Google’s YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video. Additionally, in 2022, Apple and Major League Baseball reached a streaming rights agreement.

Fifteen teams will compete in the upcoming World Cup-style event, which FIFA has allegedly been reevaluating from its original moniker, the Mundial de Clubes FIFA. The tournament that would bring together the top soccer teams in the world every four years has been a long-term goal of FIFA President Gianni Infantino. The likes of FC Bayern Munich, PSG, and Serie A winners Inter Milan are already in the running for participation, per FIFA.

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