Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported bid to stream the Major League Baseball’s mid-week games shows that the tech giant’s recognizes live sports content will be a key linchpin to the success of its Apple TV+ streaming service, according to an analyst at Wedbush.
The Apple Analyst: Analyst Daniel Ives maintained an Outperform rating and a $200 price target for Apple shares.
The Apple Thesis: Apple winning the MLB deal will be a “shot across the bow” to its streaming rivals such as Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) that the Tim Cook-led company is on the aggressive hunt for live sports content to drive the future growth of Apple TV+, Ives said in a note.
With roughly $200 billion of cash on its balance sheet, the analyst believes Apple could bid on several upcoming sports packages — such as NFL (Sunday Night Ticket) and NASCAR — coming up for renewals in future years.
Apple TV+ is becoming a key monetization engine for the company over the coming years, Ives pointed out. He estimates that the streaming service has roughly 20 million paid subscribers and about 45 million global accounts.
Why It Matters: The MLB deal would mark Apple’s foray into streaming live sports and provide a major content boost for Apple TV+. The $5 per month subscription streaming service was launched by Apple in 2019.
Apple rival Amazon’s streaming video service has signed a ten-year deal to be the exclusive home of NFL “Thursday Night Football,” starting with the 2022-23 season.
Price Action: Apple shares closed 1.9% lower in Thursday’s regular trading session at $172.19 and further declined less than 0.1% in the after-hours session to $172.07.