Eddy Cue Says Apple Isn't Interested in Exclusive Rights to Live Sports Games

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Apr 12, 2001
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A new Sports Illustrated article offers a look inside Apple's so-called sports surveillance room at its Results Way office complex in Cupertino, California, where a team of Apple employees have been monitoring sports events for newsworthy and unpredictable moments for almost a year now.


The report says the team manages the sports subsection in Apple's TV app and its Apple TV interface, highlighting what's available around the clock and sending notifications about exciting moments like a playoff game reaching triple overtime.

Apple's services chief Eddy Cue reflected on the company's broader goal of curating sports, using retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance in an otherwise unremarkable Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors game in the 2006 NBA playoffs as an example of a sports moment worth highlighting.

"It was amazing to watch, but the vast majority even of Lakers fans didn't see it," said Cue. "As a fan, I've always looked at it as an opportunity."

For now, though, Apple doesn't appear to have any larger ambitions with sports. Asked how much he thinks about competing against Facebook and Amazon, both of which have experimented with airing live sports games on their platforms with exclusive rights, Cue responded "not a lot, honestly."

From the report:
"That's not to say we would never do sports, because who the heck knows," he said. "Never is a long time, but I don't think that's a problem right now." Sports rights are deeply fragmented, with different owners split by platform and region. "You really can't own all the rights, so therefore at some point you need to solve some other problems," Cue said. "You can't design for owning the rights because if that's the only thing you're doing you're always going to be tiny."
In other words, don't expect Apple to have its own sports broadcasts in its widely expected streaming video service, although it could provide sports content from partnered networks.

Read the full Sports Illustrated article for a deeper dive into Apple's sports content efforts.

Article Link: Eddy Cue Says Apple Isn't Interested in Exclusive Rights to Live Sports Games
 

mozumder

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2009
940
2,712
Seems IP geotargeting would be an easy solution to sports rights audience targeting.
 

CLS727

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2018
255
373
I wish they would update the Apple TV to allow customizable PIP like that........ no reason I shouldn't be able to spilt a screen into 4 corners and run 4 apps/streams at once.

Apple TV Pro.... anyone?
 

jonblatho

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2014
1,834
4,659
Missouri
Well, yeah, live sports are increasingly a money pit for TV and streaming only made up for by ad prices so high that they're getting harder and harder to ask, driven by obscenely high asking prices from leagues. Throw in the constant jockeying for live broadcasting rights and none of this is surprising for Apple.
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 65816
Apr 20, 2016
1,353
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La Jolla, CA
That's another Missed Opportunity by the team of Cook, Schiller, & Cue !

(High-Bit-Rate) 1080p60 streaming is probably the Holy Grail of Live Sports, yet NON-existent here in the States.

Here, we get either 720p60 OR 1080i30.

Those with satellite get 1080p/24-30.

If AAPL was being run by "true" Sports fans, they would have implemented High-Bit-Rate 1080p60 a long, long time ago !

And, it's a MUCH smarter business proposition to spend $1B+ USD on getting into High-End streaming, than arriving late to the game in a competitive video streaming market.

I suspect Cook, Schiller, & Cue ALL have "Hollywood envy" ... otherwise, this wouldn't be happening.

To me, it makes NO business sense.

There are UN-tapped Golden Opportunities out there, & they (i.e., Cook & Co) just try to copy what others have already done !

The root cause of the problem is the Hands-OFF Board Jobs put in place when he took over the last time.

All detailed in the Steve Jobs Bio.

Cook is a Bean Counter, Schiller is there to protect Cook (NO ONE would consider him Cook's replacement), & Cue (I have NO idea why he is still @ AAPL, probably for the same reason Cook keeps Schiller around).

IMO, "the Dumbest guys in the room" are running one of the most valuable companies in the world !

Steve Jobs got what he wanted, & they are running with it !

The hands-OFF AAPL Board gets most of the blame !

Cook should have been replaced about 5 years ago.
 
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bollman

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2001
353
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Lund, Sweden
Note: none of the computers worked on by Apple staff in the picture are newer MacBook Pros, rather old MBAs. Wonder why?
Also, I like that the richest tech-company in the world uses whiteboards to keep sports statistics to be included in an app...
 
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rtomyj

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2012
805
716
I spy one of those crazy people that covers up the camera on their laptop with tape.
A lot of tech savvy people seem to use it to my shock... until I got a job and had meetings. Accidentally opening your camera while in PJ’s is scary as ****. However, yea if someone’s streaming with your camera, you’d notice it.
 

LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
5,559
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Sports would be a tough walnut to crack for Apple's streamign service.

the biggest deal is that most of the major sports already have their own streaming services, that are tightly integrated into the sport itself. Multi-cam angles, DVR functionality, regional blackout control, etc. You'd be hard pressed to convince NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to go with a 3rd party provider such as Apple, especially if Apple expects their own cut.

I'm pretty sure those above leagues aren't hurting for subscribers / eyes. They're not likely willing to give Apple a cut of their profits just to add yet another middle-man to the delivery chain.

Heck, up here, the sports teams are owned by the broadcasters, who own the rights to delivery. And those national broadcasters pay the leagues (not the opposite way around). If suddenly Apple said they deserve to be paid, those leagues are going to laugh and walk away.
 

BGPL

macrumors 6502
May 4, 2016
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California
Whichever streaming service gets the Sunday, Monday, Thursday NFL games (the various networks that cover the games) will crush it. It will probably all happen at once with multiple services, when the current contracts run out.

But yeah, whoever it is will have my service. For now, OTA HDTV gets me 90% of the games.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,574
657
Cork, Ireland.
Sports rights are a disaster...

Example: I love watching rugby, Pro14 and Heineken Champions Cup in particular. Originally, both were on 'free TV', then the Champions Cup coverage was moved to Sky Sports (a premium service). Sigh.. ok, I signed up, so now watching some Pro14 and all Champions Cup. Then the sports package expanded (with non-rugby content) and price went up. Ok, whatever.

Then some of the Champions Cup rights were sold to another sports broadcaster (BT Sports), so then I'd need to pay for 2 packages to view it all. And most of the Pro14 coverage went to another premium provider. So, 3 packages, can't even keep count any more. Then all the Champions Cup rights went to the new broadcaster (BT Sports) which I can't even get unless I switch my TV cable provider, and I don't want to do that since it's the fastest broadband provider available.

What a mess. It's not enough that I want to pay for content, that content has to be bundled up into packages/services I really don't want. Ditto with Netflix / Amazon and Disney & Apple to come. Screw that. I'm not paying for multiple streaming services. Just have one streaming service with all the content on it.

I don't blame Apple for wanting to stay away from it, though they are FAR from being the 'good guys' in this.
 

Baymowe335

macrumors 603
Oct 6, 2017
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11,905
Smart. Those events are in bubble territory and have gotten insanely expensive to be worth it. Networks are forced bc they need to have something, but Apple can be more selective.
 

LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
5,559
12,090
Sports rights are a disaster...

Example: I love watching rugby, Pro14 and Heineken Champions Cup in particular. Originally, both were on 'free TV', then the Champions Cup coverage was moved to Sky Sports (a premium service). Sigh.. ok, I signed up, so now watching some Pro14 and all Champions Cup. Then the sports package expanded (with non-rugby content) and price went up. Ok, whatever.

Then some of the Champions Cup rights were sold to another sports broadcaster (BT Sports), so then I'd need to pay for 2 packages to view it all. And most of the Pro14 coverage went to another premium provider. So, 3 packages, can't even keep count any more. Then all the Champions Cup rights went to the new broadcaster (BT Sports) which I can't even get unless I switch my TV cable provider, and I don't want to do that since it's the fastest broadband provider available.

What a mess. It's not enough that I want to pay for content, that content has to be bundled up into packages/services I really don't want. Ditto with Netflix / Amazon and Disney & Apple to come. Screw that. I'm not paying for multiple streaming services. Just have one streaming service with all the content on it.

I don't blame Apple for wanting to stay away from it, though they are FAR from being the 'good guys' in this.
yeah, to Watch NHL here, it's 3 or 4 packages. thankfully my cable package actually included all the additional ones.

For example: Leafs (my team). games are split between 3 networks. CBC, SportsNet and TSN. CBC games are free for everyone (yay), SportsNet and TSN are owned by two seperate comapnies and require their own subscriptions, and on top of that, if I want out of market games, NHL Gamecenter is a 4th subscription i'd need.

and when the games are on different channels, they get blacked out on the otherse. Can't watch a leaf game on NHL Gamecentre that's on TSN. Can't watch TSN for games on sportsnet. etc.

if you tried to "cut the cord" and do internet only watching, it would cost more than cable!
 
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Syrgul

macrumors member
Mar 17, 2015
57
45

...
The report says the team manages the sports subsection in Apple's TV app and its Apple TV interface, highlighting what's available around the clock and sending notifications about exciting moments like a playoff game reaching triple overtime.
...
I've often wondered who was in control of those notifications, because sometimes, they don't make sense. Like in the 3rd period of a 6-0 Leafs game, I'll get a notification about it being a 'close game'. 3-3 is a close game, 6-0 is a slaughter.
 
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