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Playing ball takes on a whole new meaning.

In the first of its hype events this year, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed on Tuesday that the rumors were true and he would make a deal with Major League Baseball. For investors, the news should come as no surprise; if anything, it’s more of a welcome reassurance that Tim Cook and his team are sticking to their “moneyball” approach to streaming and not trying to win a grand slam so early in the game.

Still, that wasn’t the only big news for Apple this week, and it may not be the last in the weeks to come.

First, as always, a little background.

I’m going to keep this part a bit brief as I dove into this background in January when I first covered the MLB rumor. The biggest thing people forget here is that MLB and Apple have a long-standing relationship.

One of the first apps launched in the store was the MLB app and it has been consistently strong ever since. It therefore goes without saying that the two companies would like to continue working together. As I’ve written before, it’s a proposition that plays well for both parties. Apple can expand its offerings, and MLB gets a new partner that has strong ties to a younger audience it covets.

What is also interesting here is that the agreement is for Friday night baseball compared to the Monday and Wednesday packages, which were rumored to be on the block. Again, this is something that works well for both parties – Apple can launch a new brand from scratch that it can own and MLB can, in turn, sell the Monday and Wednesday packages at a other network (would have NBC for its Peacock service) and raise additional revenue.

Now the elephant in the room here is the fact that right now there is no MLB season on the horizon. Players and owners are locked out over a new contract and a deal like this, which fills owners’ pockets, isn’t really going to help anything.

Apple is patient, however.

Apple is always patient.

Apple TV+’s entire lifespan has been built around patience and at times that would test the patience of analysts who disagree with the company’s approach to the space. streaming. Many just want Apple to make a splash – buy a big company and compete more with Netflix.

It’s a mistake and investors are lucky that Tim Cook and his team seem to know it.

I used the term “moneyball” earlier in the article, and for those who may not be familiar with it, “moneyball” is a baseball term that basically means going against the grain. It was made famous by the Oakland A’s when its general manager turned to stats and numbers to build a team on the advice of experts in the field.

A still image from Sony


The idea is more that to score runs, players had to be on base, so singles and doubles were more important than triples and home runs. At a high level in business, it also means buying what is undervalued and selling what is overexposed.

That’s what Apple does with Apple TV+.

And Major League Baseball is very undervalued.

It’s a three-hour game where nothing happens for long stretches at a time – and I say that as a fan. It’s the polar opposite of the faster-paced world of the NFL, NBA, and NHL…but there’s an appeal there and it’s valuable and it reaches a cross-section of viewers than Apple and MLB know how to be profitable for them.

Apple buying a company just to buy a company because the market “says” it’s supposed to, is a hasty decision that is purely reactive… not Apple’s style. Apple likes to set the tone and make others react. The MLB deal is part of a calculated approach to adding new stuff that only Apple can deliver — and still at the low price of $5.

Keep in mind that the service itself is just over two years old; he is still very young and has made incredible progress since those convoluted beginnings. Apple TV+ has always been a value-added proposition for consumers, which many critics miss.

They like to point to (alleged) low subscriber counts and churn as an argument that Apple doesn’t know what it’s doing. Yet the opposite is true and it is all intentional. Apple knew that by hiring the right people and working with the right creators, success would come.

Need proof? Look The morning show and Ted Lasso which, in addition to being popular with critics and audiences, are both Emmy winners. Apple has won the top prize at the Emmys in just two years; it took Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) almost a decade to achieve this feat… ironically, the two happened on the same night.

And remember earlier when I teased that Apple might do more news before the end of the month? Well, those whispers started last weekend when Apple original CODA won material at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards. In addition to Troy Kotsur the story-making the Best Supporting Actor win, the entire cast won Best Ensemble (the SAG equivalent of Best Picture), upsetting the two presumed favorites.

CODA, like baseball, isn’t as flashy as its contemporaries…but that’s the point. It’s a movie centered around the dynamics of a Deaf family – with a mostly Deaf cast. It’s a powerful film that gives a platform to a band that usually doesn’t have one.

(Credit: Apple)

While not always a precursor to who will win at the Oscars, the SAG results have consistently signaled that the race is changing and a dark horse is emerging. CODA turns out to be an underrated black horse.

Apple probably never imagined in its wildest dreams two years after its foray into streaming that it would be talked about as a real contender for the Best Picture award… and yet here we are.

Believe it or not – and I know many don’t – awards matter to these big industry giants.

In fact, you can argue that awards have the same level of importance to Apple as they do to Netflix, largely because it’s tangible validation. For Netflix, it’s necessary to attract new subscribers and new creations, and for Apple, it’s necessary because it builds brand recognition and can also lead to more of its hardware being sold.

This is also what many are missing – Netflix uses its offers to try to get people to spend $15 a month, Apple uses its offer to try to get people to spend $1,500 all at once.

You can do the math.

Apple knows that when it wins over a consumer, it’s likely to get more than $5 worth of subscription. They introduce them to the world of Apple and its overpriced toys… which are constantly being updated.

It is victory.

Where Netflix is ​​struggling right now is that its core business is unique: streaming. While all of its big rivals have multiple revenue streams, Apple is no different. It’s also why when Apple glosses over subscriber numbers (and streaming in general) on its earnings call, no one blinks, but when Netflix attracts fewer new customers, the sky falls.

It’s not.

This past earnings cycle, Netflix was the only mainstream streaming service not to put in lofty metrics — even longtime punching bag AT&T (NYSE:T) was able to to boast good news about HBO Max. The reason for this is that the parent companies of other streaming leaders are diverse, which Netflix is ​​trying to do but surprisingly lagging behind.

For Apple, it has always been ahead.

Apple Music, News, Fitness, Arcade…etc. are all ways to grow your brand without losing sight of your core hardware-driven strategy. The MLB deal is one of them because it continues to bring new value to the mix and even though it’s only two live games a week, it’s still two live games that he’s going to promote as a crazy. Apple will have you thinking these are the two must-play games of the week, because that’s what Apple does.

Like baseball, streaming has become a game of chess where it’s not just about who has the most power – it’s about who uses that power best.

Game on!