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Why Apple's sports streaming play won't matter much: Analyst

Apple (AAPL)'s push into sports streaming has many analysts expecting the company to be the likely candidate for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket streaming service.

Despite the nearly $3 billion price tag, Wall Street analysts believe Apple’s foray into football is immaterial to the stock price.

“People immediately think about Apple TV+ and they compare it to others and wonder if the content is strong enough,” Citigroup Analyst Jim Suva said on Yahoo Finance Live recently. “But there are a lot more apps that are actually bringing in more revenue than Apple TV+, and a lot more apps that are very profitable that we should keep an eye on.”

Reporter Heidi Watney of Apple TV+ interviews Jeremy Pena of the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 8, 2022 in California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Reporter Heidi Watney of Apple TV+ interviews Jeremy Pena of the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 8, 2022 in California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Apple, which currently trades at a $2.4 trillion market cap, produced $97.28 billion in revenue last quarter. Only $19.8 billion of that money came from Apple’s services sector, which includes TV+ and other services such as the App Store, Apple Music and cloud services.

Suva argued that Apple’s content competition with Amazon (AMZN) isn't as important as the cloud services and other areas driving Apple’s 825 million paid subscriptions.

“I think it’s a continuum of where they’re going,” Suva said. “But let’s not lose sight of there’s big economics in storing your photos and videos of your loved ones, friends, family, and archiving those and every month paying Apple to back that up in the cloud. And let’s not lose sight of the Apple cloud and how powerful that has been.”

Nevertheless, Wedbush Securities Managing Director Dan Ives previously told Yahoo Finance that Apple will likely double its content spend over the next 12 months to an estimated $12-15 billion with an emphasis on sports.

"They're doubling down on live sports content, and that's a big strategy for Cupertino on the content front,” Ives said.

'A huge window for them to expand'

NFL Sunday Ticket appears to be just another stepping stone into Apple’s sports streaming blitz.

With more money on the balance sheet than any other streamer, the company will have an ability to provide the highest bids when it wants.

Last month, Apple announced a $2.5 billion investment in MLS broadcasting rights. The streaming service is also in its first season of live broadcasting Friday Night Baseball for two MLB games per week.

Some of that content spend could also be used towards Big Ten broadcasting rights, which are expected to sell for more than $1 billion after the addition of UCLA and USC, along with UEFA Champions Soccer. Both leagues have reportedly received interest from the team in Cupertino, where Apple's headquarters are located.

“They're not going to buy a [movie production] studio,” Ives said after the MLS deal. “They're going to battle Amazon and others for rights, but we believe it's a smart strategic bet to just further tap into the Cupertino ecosystem. They were obviously linked to [soccer] in content — they built it brick-by-brick — but with live sports, there's a huge window for them to expand."

Josh is a producer for Yahoo Finance.

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