Lionel Messi’s arrival in MLS has been a massive commercial success for Apple with its season pass subscription numbers rising about 100,000. Now, according to the latest issue of the Business F1 magazine, Apple has now set its sights on another sport: Formula 1.
The magazine claims that the Tech giants are reportedly considering an offer to F1 worth about £1.6million per year, which will later see Apple hold the exclusive streaming rights. Apple CEO Tim Cook is a big motorsport fan and has even attended races, waiving the chequered flag at F1’s Circuit of the Americas race in Austin, Texas, last year. Cook could look to make another appearance in Austin next month or in Las Vegas in November.
Apple is also currently in the process of producing a big-budget F1 movie starring Brad Pitt, as well as a documentary on seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. An Apple F1 pass would likely be a standalone subscription but it will undoubtedly be a major boost in Apple’s growth in the sporting market, building on its early success with MLS.
F1’s global rights, however, would be harder for Apple to hoover up. That’s due to existing contracts with various broadcasters around the world – but it’s not entirely impossible that Apple may position itself to acquire those rights should they become available.
F1’s US rights to F1 are currently held by ESPN, who have exclusivity until 2025. The report goes on to state that from that year on, Apple could look to strike a deal, likely to be a seven-year agreement. Global rights are expected to become available four years down the road in 2029.
The current F1 season is reaching its conclusion, with the constructors’ championship already being won by Red Bull. Its lead driver, Max Verstappen, could win a third F1 drivers’ world championship in Qatar next weekend.
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The Dutchman has seen the chequered flag first on 13 occasions this season and even broke Sebastian Vettel’s consecutive wins record. Despite being on the cusp of a three-peat, Verstappen says it’s business as usual. “No emotion,” he said on the occasion.
“If it happens on Saturday, Sunday, or the week after, I know that it’s coming. But it’s not something that I’m thinking about too much. Maybe it’s a good thing?” he suggested of the notion of sealing the title on Saturday. “A good night out. Might be a bit slower on the reaction time for the lights [on Sunday]! It’s just not something that I’m really thinking about. We’re just experiencing a really amazing year as a team. Also, I don’t care where I win it,” he added. “It’s not about, ‘You need to win it five races in advance’ or at the last one.”
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