CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple TV+ will begin its second season of “Friday Night Baseball” on April 7. The Chicago Cubs will host the Texas Rangers in a day game, followed by the San Diego Padres facing the Atlanta Braves.
Apple will carry twin bills over 25 weeks with no local blackout restrictions. In a change from last year, when there were doubleheaders on the East and West coasts, both games will be going on simultaneously most weeks.
Fans in 60 countries will be able to access the games, which were available in only 12 last season. An Apple TV+ subscription is required, unlike last season.
The biggest broadcast change fans will notice is a two-person booth instead of three. Wayne Randazzo will team with Dontrelle Willis for one of the crews with Alex Faust and Ryan Spilborghs pairing for the other. Heidi Watney and Tricia Whitaker will be field reporters.
Apple heard criticism last year that the three-person booth was not focusing enough on the games.
With plenty of rules changes this season, including the banning of shifts and a pitch clock, former umpires Brian Gorman and Dale Scott have been hired to be rules analysts during games.
Pregame and postgame coverage will be hosted by Lauren Gardner, along with Siera Santos. Xavier Scruggs, Matt Joyce and Russell Dorsey will be analysts.
Apple and MLB have announced the game schedule through late June. The Milwaukee Brewers have the most appearances with four while the Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates will each be on three times.
The defending World Series champion Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees have two appearances.
Baseball was the first live sport that Apple carried last year. It since has added Major League Soccer.
Restaurants, bars, hotels and other commercial establishments that have DirecTV for Business will be able to carry the Apple TV+ games on their satellite equipment. DirecTV for Business also has the same arrangement with MLS for its Season Pass package as well as Amazon Prime Video for NFL “Thursday Night Football.”