Apple is reported to be close to striking a deal with the National Hockey League (NHL) that would put iPads and other Apple technologies in place on team benches and in other spots in arenas around the league.
Three sources familiar with the matter told TSN that the NHL briefed teams as recently as last week about the development.
The NHL has been in talks for several years with Apple and its competitor Microsoft, one source told TSN, adding that the talks with Apple have accelerated after similar talks between the company and the National Basketball Association failed to lead to an agreement.
TSN’s source noted the deal could still fall through, but claimed the talks are “pretty far down the path for that to happen.” The deal would likely be similar to the one in place between the National Football League and Microsoft, valued at $400 million, which puts Surface tablets on the sidelines of NFL games for uses by team coaches. That partnership has been in place since 2013.
“The NHL Apple deal is more a major partnership than a sponsorship,” said a source familiar with the NHL’s plans. “Right now, some teams have iPads or other tablets and some don’t. Some have good Internet connections, some don’t. This deal is about having a consistent platform that every team can use in every rink.”
BAMTech, the online streaming service operated by Major League Baseball, has also been involved in the negotiations. The report says BAMTech reached a six-year agreement with the National Hockey League to distribute live out-of-market games. BAMTech also operates the NHL’s website, as well as all of the individual NHL teams’ websites. BAMTech is also tasked with developing a platform for player and puck tracking, which is why it has been involved in the talks between the NHL and Apple.