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Apple speaks with Pac-12 in exploration of content opportunities

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott speaking with SportBusiness editorial director Kevin Roberts (Melina Pardo)

Apple has had talks with US college sports property the Pac-12 Conference as it looks to bolster its Apple TV and TV+ OTT video entertainment products.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple’s head of services Eddy Cue met with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott this year about the latter’s ongoing effort to sell an equity stake in its media rights business. The Pac-12 has been seeking a $750m investment in a new entity that would manage the conference’s media rights and the Pac-12 Network television and digital channels. The conference has also had talks with Amazon.

The WSJ said, however, that Cue was dubious about the value of a deal with the Pac-12, because the limited appeal of the rights on offer and the potential requirement to show some of the games on broadcast television.

The newspaper reported that Apple has also had talks this year about a possible acquisition of film studio MGM, whose library includes the James Bond films, Silence of the Lambs, and television shows including Fargo and The Addams Family.

Apple is playing catch-up in the OTT video space as it competes with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Last month it launched TV+, a $4.99-per-month service in over 100 countries. Currently, it has only a fraction of the content of its rivals.