A huge battle for domestic rights to the Eredivisie is about to kick off in the Netherlands.

Indications are that US-based tech giant Apple is entering the fight for Eredivisie rights, according to a report. By the looks of it, expect a battle royal between traditional TV outlets and streaming services that could change the landscape for Dutch fans.

Domestically, ESPN has held exclusive rights to Eredivisie since 2013 but those rights expire at the end of the 2023-24 season.

Apple Eredivisie rights? No lack of interested parties

Along with current rights’ holders ESPN in the Netherlands, ZiggoSport is considered a likely candidate to bid for the rights. Ziggo currently holds the rights in the Netherlands to the European competitions (Champions League, Europa League & Europe Conference) as well as Italian Serie A and Spain’s La Liga.

Then, enter the live streamers.

Besides Apple, there are rumors that Netflix as well as Amazon are interested in bidding for the rights. While Netflix are still looking for their first foray into major soccer coverage, Amazon already own exclusive rights of Ligue 1 in France as well as select Premier League games in England.

In the Netherlands, Eredivisie rights are estimated to cost providers 150 to 200 million euro per season.

Will Apple emulate their MLS strategy?

As World Soccer Talk readers are well aware, Apple is the exclusive MLS rights holders worldwide starting February 2023.

The framework of their deal may give Eredivisie a picture of how Apple would approach their rights in the Netherlands. In the US, Apple offers all matches without local blackouts for $14.99 per month or $99 for the full season. Apple+ subscribers get a discount rate of $12.99 per month or $79 for the season.

In addition to live match coverage, Apple has plans for multicast coverage as well as specialty programming around league content. These prices are compatible with what Amazon charges in France for it’s coverage of Ligue-1 (€12.99 per month).

Could rights deal impact Eredivisie coverage in US?

Currently, select Eredivisie matches are available in the US on ESPN+. The fact that ESPN has the rights in the Netherlands isn’t officially directly related to the fact they own the rights in the US. So officially, there should not be any immediate changes to US coverage of the league.

But if Apple is successful in acquiring the Dutch rights, it’s not a far fetched idea to see them acquiring the rights to show the matches in the US once ESPN’s deal expires.

And as rights expire across the full spectrum of leagues and competitions, the US market has to consider that Apple is a serious player in bidding for those rights.

Adding European soccer coverage to their MLS offerings could become a priority for Apple which will result in the likes of ESPN, NBC & CBS digging deeper into their pockets to retain rights or seeing those rights end up with Apple, Amazon or even Netflix.

The sports coverage landscape is always changing and current trends point to live streaming services taking over from traditional TV outlets. So keep an eye on what is happening in the Netherlands as it will ultimately affect US fans as well.

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