I can’t pretend to be much of a Formula 1 aficionado. I haven’t watched any of it since the Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton tyre change/lapped cars debacle of 2021. However, people who like motorsports REALLY like motorsports and I can imagine there will be a decent audience prepared to pay for some subscription to get all the action.
It has been clear for some time that Apple is keen to expand its live sports offering beyond its Friday Night Baseball coverage and MLS Season Pass. The latter seems to have received a major boost thanks to the arrival of Lionel Messi. (I’ve discussed this on episodes of both “TV+ Talk” and “Additional Conversations” in recent times.)
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Formula 1 Next Move For Apple in Sports
The company is not really hiding its intentions either. Services boss Eddy Cue, a huge sports fan himself, told GQ recently:
We spend a lot of money, a lot of time on finding the best unscripted drama in the world. That’s what we try to create in some of our shows that we do for TV+. Sports is that in spades. It’s the greatest unscripted drama there is.
It is worth noting that CEO Tim Cook is also a huge sports fan. There is one other crucial factor to remember when it comes to Apple and sports. It will only buy the rights to something if they are global and they can show the same thing in every country around the world. This is understood to be a large part of the reason why it ultimately backed away from NFL Sunday Ticket. I can certainly see the company producing a high-tech, slick package of coverage for F1.
Here’s another comment from Cue from the GQ piece that rather sums it all up:
I think sports is something that is going to continue to grow in importance, but it’s clear that the path that it’s on now is not the right one. And so, what is it? That gave us an opportunity to participate, or to get in the game around it and see if we could shape the future of it. And we’ll see. It’s early, but I think the opportunity’s there. Who’s going to take it and what’s it going to be? Not as clear.
Not all that long ago, Steve Jobs and Apple shook up the music industry. It looks like the company that Jobs built is looking to do the same with sports.