Apple, Amazon, YouTube hit streaming home runs in 2022

Live sports took streaming by storm in 2022, as digital content providers scooped up sports distribution rights from the NFL, MLB and more. Here’s a look back at this year’s top streaming wins in sports and where you can expect to catch major sporting events moving forward.


Amazon Prime Video in September kicked off an 11-year deal to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football – an agreement that includes 15 games per season and, starting next year, an additional Black Friday game.

Amazon, which is paying around $1 billion annually for the rights, has received favorable reception for its coverage thus far. The September 15 opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers drew approximately 15.3 million U.S. viewers across all platforms as well as record new Prime sign-ups.

Abroad, Amazon this summer secured streaming rights for UEFA Champions League games in the U.K., beginning in 2024.


The tech giant snagged two major sports rights packages this year. In March, it inked a deal with Major League Baseball to host Friday Night Baseball, a weekly doubleheader with live pre- and postgame shows, on Apple TV+. The programming at launch was made available in the U.S. and eight other countries.

The parties did not disclose financial terms, but Forbes last spring reported Apple is paying $85 million annually over seven years. That amount encompasses a $55 million rights fee and $30 million worth of advertising.

Alongside baseball, Apple has expanded its sports streaming ambitions into soccer. Apple in June struck a 10-year agreement with Major League Soccer to live stream all MLS matches once the league’s next season begins on February 25. Apple is reportedly paying a minimum of $250 million per year for the package, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The games, along with a weekly live match whip-around show, game replays, highlights, analysis and other original programming, will be exclusively available on Apple TV, where soccer fans can subscribe to MLS’ forthcoming new streaming service – MLS Season Pass.

The service, which will launch on February 1, will start at $14.99 per month or $99 for the entire season. Anyone with MLS full season ticket packages will be able to subscribe to MLS Season Pass at no additional cost. A select number of matches will be free to watch via the Apple TV app.


Google’s YouTube made headlines late last week when it announced it will be the new streaming home for the NFL Sunday Ticket, the league’s out-of-market Sunday afternoon games. The package will be available as an add-on for vMVPD YouTube TV or as a standalone a-la-carte service on YouTube Primetime Channels.

YouTube hasn’t yet disclosed how much it will charge for either streaming option, nor how much it’s paying for the rights. Various media reports have suggested YouTube will pay $2.5 billion annually for Sunday Ticket – much higher than the annual $1.5 billion DirecTV’s been paying for the rights.

Several other streamers vied for the sports package, namely Amazon, Apple and Disney. Apple, once seen as the frontrunner for Sunday Ticket, apparently bowed out of talks early last week.

Sunday Ticket was hardly YouTube’s first major sports streaming deal. In April, it renewed a live streaming deal with MLB that included 15 games during the 2022 regular season – marking the fourth season of YouTube and MLB’s partnership. The games can be streamed anywhere YouTube is available, across 182 countries.


Though Disney doesn’t currently offer any live sports streaming on Disney+, it’s maintaining some sports rights through ESPN. ESPN in October announced it will retain Formula 1 racing rights through 2025, with at least 16 races airing on ABC and ESPN each season. A select number of races will be streamed on ESPN+.

Other parties were reportedly interested in snagging F1 before ESPN confirmed the deal, such as Netflix and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

This year also saw Disney wrap up the first season of its 7-year streaming deal with the National Hockey League, in which the NHL brought 75 national regular season games to ESPN+ and Hulu. The deal also includes more than 1,000 out-of-market games on ESPN+.

But Disney didn’t just experience wins on the sports side. In India, it lost out on streaming rights for Indian Premier League cricket to Viacom 18. However, Disney will keep IPL regional broadcast rights for the next five years.


NBCU’s AVOD service has leaned into sports to bolster subscriber growth. In addition to providing coverage for this year’s Olympic Games and the Super Bowl, Peacock scored a multi-year deal with MLB last spring to stream weekly baseball games on Sunday mornings. This season started off with 18 games, each matchup featuring NBC Sports-produced pregame and post-game shows.

The recently concluded World Cup also drove engagement for Peacock, which was the only U.S. streaming service to provide Spanish-language coverage for all 64 matches. The tournament’s opening match on November 20 reeled in 4 million viewers across NBC’s Telemundo, Peacock and Telemundo Deportes’ digital platforms, which NBCU said broke a record in Spanish-language programming.


Though HBO Max is set to be merged with Discovery+ next spring, the service will soon be home to a series of U.S. national soccer team games. Next month will kick off an eight-year distribution agreement – announced in March – between the U.S. Soccer Federation and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Turner Sports.

HBO Max is set to stream over 20 Women’s and Men’s National Team matches each year, games which will likely be carried over to WBD’s combined SVOD service once it’s released. Approximately half of those matches will air on the TNT and TBS networks.


Most of this year’s sports streaming deals encompassed major sporting events, but regional sports networks (RSNs) also got a streaming boost. In September, Sinclair Broadcast’s Diamond Sports fully launched its Bally Sports+ streaming service, currently available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, iOS, Android and on web browsers.

The Bally Sports+ subscription costs around $20 per month or $190 annually. It comes with access to 19 Bally RSNs, live NBA and NHL games within select regional coverage areas as well as collegiate and high school sporting events.

Bally Sports+ wasn’t the first direct-to-consumer RSN streaming service. That title goes to New England Sports Network, which debuted its standalone streaming service in June for around $30 per month.