Apple is in late-stage discussions with the National Hockey League regarding a "major partnership" that could see iPads and other technologies implemented on team benches and elsewhere in arenas, according to Canadian sports network TSN.
The report claims the NHL has been in negotiations with Apple and Microsoft for several years, adding that talks with Apple have accelerated recently after similar talks between Apple and the National Basketball Association failed to materialize.
“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.”
Major League Baseball's digital operation BAMTech has been involved in the negotiations, after reaching a six-year deal with the NHL last year for the rights to distribute live out-of-market games, according to the report.
BAMTech's parent division MLB Advanced Media also owns the rights to the NHL's website, mobile apps, operations, and distribution of the league's streaming platform NHL GameCenter Live, available on iPad and other Apple devices.
The deal could resemble a $400 million partnership between the National Football League and Microsoft, ongoing since 2013, which provides team coaches with Surface tablets to use on the sidelines during football games.
The Walt Disney Company acquired a minority 33% stake in BAMTech earlier this year.