Apple has been attempting to lure in fans of baseball and soccer with its free MLB and MLS games on Apple TV 4K. Now, it’s allowing you to watch four of them at once, and giving you more control than YouTube TV.
It's part of the tvOS 16.5 update that introduces the multi-view sports feature that lets you stream four live games simultaneously. The only catch? The Apple TV's multi-view sports only works with MLB Friday Night Baseball and MLS Season Pass matches.
To control which games you’re watching, you’ll need to select the grid icon that appears above the timeline bar, and then choose the “More Matches” option. You’ll be able to choose which game’s volume is playing in the grid view, and Apple says audio options will include home radio feed for MLS Season Pass subscribers.
Speaking of, Apple is giving away a 1-month free trial of MLS Season Pass to celebrate the launch of multi-view, after which the service will run you $13 a month or $79 per season if you’re already subscribed to Apple TV Plus (one of the best streaming services).
Analysis: Can Apple finally win over sports-lovers?
Almost every major streaming service has tried to win over live sports lovers to varying degrees of success. YouTube TV recently added multiview, but it's only offered it for pre-selected groups of games, so you can't pick and choose. It's supposed to be improved by the fall for NFL live streams (remember, YouTube TV is the new home of NFL Sunday Ticket).
Back in 2021 Amazon signed a $1 billion-per-season deal to stream Thursday Night Football games, while Apple picked up the rights to Friday Night Baseball in 2022 for the paltry sum of $85 million per year for the next seven years.
Clearly, both services want to cash in on the lucrative advertising revenue and viewership numbers that live sports offer — and the new multi-view sports feature could help some.
Unfortunately, Apple is hamstringing itself here by only allowing the two first-party sports apps to have access to the multi-view sports mode. There are plenty of other great third-party apps on the platform that would be great to have in the same view.
That being said, who knows what the future holds for Apple’s tvOS platform. This could just be a test with the potential to include more apps — like, say, Netflix or Sling TV — sometime further down the road in tvOS 17.
As for when we’ll see tvOS 17 in action, well, our best guess is that it will make an appearance at next month’s WWDC 2023 event alongside the new versions of iPadOS, iOS and MacOS, as it’s done pretty much every year for the last decade.