Apple’s Major League Soccer streams may come with ads

    Dive Brief

    • Apple is looking to expand its advertising network by placing ads in its streams of Major League Soccer games beginning in February, Bloomberg reported
    • Along with MLS streams, Apple reportedly will explore ads in related shows. The move represents an expansion of its existing live advertising platform, which is used during the streaming of Major League Baseball games on Apple TV+. 
    • The tie-up is the result of a ten-year deal and represents Apple’s continuing efforts to develop advertising as a reliable revenue stream following moves to glean more revenue from social apps and also reportedly plans to incorporate search advertising into more of its apps.

    Dive Insight:

    Ad-supported entertainment continues to be on the rise. The Bloomberg report comes as Netflix unveils its ad-supported platform, and others like Disney+ and HBO Max are preparing to launch their own ad-supported services. Indeed, some reports have indicated that Apple is quietly exploring an ad-supported version of its premium TV+ service. 

    The move also comes as Apple bolsters its clear desire to create a sustainable revenue stream from its advertising arm. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s ads business generates about $4 billion a year, and company executives have their eyes on boosting that total into the double-digit billions. 

    “It definitely could become a significant part of their business,” Peter Newman, director of forecasting at Insider Intelligence, told Wired recently. “They want to make themselves significantly less dependent on pure hardware sales.”

    The MLS advertising gig, which would include ads in games and on related programming, is a way for the company to turn a profit on the 10-year streaming deal, which has been valued at more than $2.5 billion. The soccer games will be part of a new, dedicated subscription channel, though Apple will also stream some games on its paid AppleTV+ service and through its free Apple TV app. According to the report, Apple is planning to run advertising on all three services. 

    The tech giant has also been exploring other avenues for upping its ad revenue. Most recently, it implemented a new App Store policy that treats “boosted” social posts in apps running on its mobile platform as in-app purchases. The shift enables Apple to take a piece of the app-developers revenues from those posts and has been perceived as a major hit to Meta-owned Instagram and Facebook. The company also recently began allowing companies to buy advertising on the front page of its App Store.


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