Major League Soccer today announced a 10-year streaming deal with Apple TV, beginning in 2023. As part of the deal, every single game will be available via a brand-new MLS streaming subscription service through the Apple TV app worldwide. However, MLS is still working on finalizing the pricing and the linear television parts of the deal. Hence the reason why we created this MLS and Apple TV FAQ to help answer your questions.
What we do know is that MLS still has a lot to work out. Given the confusion about this announcement, here’s our FAQ to help answer your questions.
MLS and Apple TV FAQ
Q: How much will the MLS streaming service cost from Apple?
A: Pricing details for the MLS streaming service are coming soon.
However, Apple TV+ subscribers will be able to watch a selection of MLS and League Cup games at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers. As of press time, Apple TV+ is $4.99 per month after a free 7-day trial.
A limited number of games will be available for free, not behind the Apple TV+ paywall. And then a limited number will be available via linear television (to be announced in the coming weeks).
Starting in 2023, the MLS streaming service through the Apple TV app is available for all full-season ticket holders. That may mean that prices for season tickets could increase next season.
Q: What does this mean for television broadcasts in the United States?
A: Given that Apple TV has acquired the streaming rights to all languages worldwide, this now puts ESPN in a strong position to acquire US rights to a smaller package of games for linear television. However, negotiations are dragging on. According to World Soccer Talk sources, ESPN declined to bid on the streaming package for MLS rights, and sources tell us that the broadcaster is only interested in a four-year deal for linear rights. That’s shorter than the longer-term deal that MLS is pushing for.
Meanwhile, we expect Univision to acquire the Spanish-language linear television rights in the United States.
Changes in 2023
Q: Where will I be able to watch MLS games in 2023 through 2033?
A: The MLS live and on-demand content on the Apple TV app will be available to anyone with internet access across all devices where the app can be found, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV 4K, and Apple TV HD; Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, TCL, VIZIO, and other smart TVs; Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices; PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles; Chromecast with Google TV; and Comcast Xfinity.
Q: Does that mean that Android users can’t watch games?
A: No. Android users can watch games via the browser through tv.apple.com.
Q: How much is the deal valued at?
A: Reports are that Apple is paying $250 million per year for the global rights for the next ten years.
Q: What changes will there be, if any, to the MLS schedule?
A: Beginning in 2023, all games play on Wednesday and Saturday nights unless there is a game on linear television or a conflict with the stadium not being available.
Q: What happens to the local rights to MLS games?
A: “Local TV will be out of the TV deal,” according to MLS President Gary Stevenson. As a result, it’s very likely that we may see layoffs in local production and talent among MLS clubs nationwide, according to a World Soccer Talk insider.
Q: What will the picture quality be like on Apple TV?
A: All games stream in 1080P.
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