Connect with us

Leagues: MLS

MLS signs 10-year deal with Apple TV in global deal

Apple and Major League Soccer today announced that the Apple TV app will be the exclusive destination to watch every single live MLS match beginning in 2023. This partnership is a historic first for a major professional sports league and will allow fans around the world to watch all MLS, Leagues Cup,1 and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches in one place — without any local broadcast blackouts or the need for a traditional pay TV bundle.

From early 2023 through 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app. In addition to all of the match content, the service will provide fans a new weekly live match whip-around show so they never miss an exciting goal or save, and also game replays, highlights, analysis, and other original programming. This live and on-demand MLS content will provide in-depth, behind-the-scenes views of the players and clubs that fans love. A broad selection of MLS and Leagues Cup matches, including some of the biggest matchups, will also be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers, with a limited number of matches available for free. As an added benefit to fans, access to the new MLS streaming service will be included as part of MLS full-season ticket packages.

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. Fans can also watch on tv.apple.com.

“Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between our clubs and their fans,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “Given Apple’s ability to create a best-in-class user experience and to reach fans everywhere, it’ll be incredibly easy to enjoy MLS matches anywhere, whether you’re a super fan or casual viewer.”

“For the first time in the history of sports, fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services. “It’s a dream come true for MLS fans, soccer fans, and anyone who loves sports. No fragmentation, no frustration — just the flexibility to sign up for one convenient service that gives you everything MLS, anywhere and anytime you want to watch. We can’t wait to make it easy for even more people to fall in love with MLS and root for their favorite club.”

At launch, all MLS and Leagues Cup matches will include announcers calling the action in English and Spanish, and all matches involving Canadian teams will be available in French. Apple and MLS will also provide enhanced league and club coverage for fans to easily follow the league or their favorite clubs in Apple News, with the ability to watch highlights right in the News app.

Complete details for the new service, including when fans can sign up, subscription pricing, specific details about the new MLS programming, an improved match schedule, broadcast teams, production enhancements, and pre- and postgame coverage — as well as all the ways fans will be able to enjoy MLS content across the Apple ecosystem — will be announced in the coming months.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
74 Comments

74 Comments

  1. Jack

    June 16, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    This deal is great for MLS to boost their brand globally along with the $250 million per year TV money but bad in terms of growing MLS in the USA which honestly has reached its ceiling.

    • Roberto

      June 16, 2022 at 4:09 pm

      How would you they have reached their ceiling?

  2. trip

    June 16, 2022 at 11:50 am

    A good breakdown on what this deal is about, can be found here – https://huddleup.substack.com/p/apples-25-billion-bet-on-major-league?s=r

    • Mercator

      June 16, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      This is how fake news gets started. Again they reference Forbes and assume MLS is making $80 million a year from local deals now. That’s an absolute joke – the Athletic already indicated right now most teams PAY for their local production. Forbes “ASSUMES” each team is making 3 million from their local deals, with no basis in fact. Really, MLS teams aren’t even making that much from the national broadcasts, since SUM is taking $25 million of that $90 million, leaving only $65 million for the whole league. Yet numerous articles repeat Forbes’ LIE that MLS teams are making $80 million from local rights alone. Fake news.

  3. BronzeCheetah

    June 14, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    I honestly dont understand all the complaints. All the games will be available in one place. There will be totally free games, more games with a $4.99 AppleTV membership and then ALL the games with a MLS streaming membership (price TBD). The AppleTV app is available on pretty much any device you already own without having to buy a AppleTV box. All the teams will have the option to create their own pre-game/post-game and halftime shows.
    If Apple creates MLS streaming app ads like they do for AppleTV and their other products people will be like “Hmm that looks like its worth checking out”

    • John Ketcham

      June 14, 2022 at 8:54 pm

      The price point for the package is the deal breaker here. A casual MLS won’t pay a lot of money but the league needs casual fans to grow. The best answer would have been to fold all games into the current subscription price but that looks unlikely. The next best is a very low annual price at 30 dollars or below. It has to be low enough to make people try it. The diehards will get this anyway but it won’t grow the league

      • Michael

        June 14, 2022 at 10:11 pm

        @John Ketcham. Apple would never do that. It doesn’t make business sense for them. it is MLS obligation to grow their league…NOT Apple. Apple’s job is to make money and increase their inventory. This is Apple’s warmup before getting the NFL Sunday Ticket package. This is the same thing that Amazon does with NBA League Pass. MLS is going to get all the benefits of Apple trying things out in order to perfect their infrastructure. The fans on this site have been saying for years, “If I could get every game in the same place with a single price without having to sing up for Cable, I would take it in a heartbeat.” Well that is exactly what this deal is. We will still have people complain though. Before I had T-Mobile I would pay $120 and get everyone single MLB game (I now get it for free with T-Mobile). This deal sounds like it is even better because of no blackout. With the MLB.TV the blacked out games are aduio only. From the sounds of this, this MLS plan will be for every game. That being said, I have Apple TV+ and will watch the free games…but I don’t think that I will pay extra for MLS. If this was La Liga I would do that in a heartbeat….but I already get every La Liga match with ESPN+. I think this is a good deal. Now the next goal of MLS should be to start working on the Academy and Farm System.

        • dave

          June 14, 2022 at 10:59 pm

          @Michael, one of my initial hypotheses is along the same lines as your thinking. With Apple having free cash flow of $100 billion per year, the worst-case outcome of the MLS deal for Apple is a rounding error
          .
          In exchange for basically no risk, Apple get to experiment and learn the pros and cons and optimization of the business model. That puts Apple in a potentially nice place if they someday consider bidding, say, $250 billion for 10 years of NBA
          .
          As you note, MLS benefit from Apple’s experiment. There is also risk to MLS due to asymmetry. Apple now means a great deal to the MLS entity while MLS is a low-cost experiment (perhaps mainly with eyes on unrelated future deals) to the Apple entity

  4. El Jefe

    June 14, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    Yikes. I sure hope ESPN/ ABC or FOX retains some portion of the rights. Taking the league completely off network TV will absolutely destroy the visibility of the league and capturing casual fans. 10 years seems way too excessive for this sort of risky experiment.

    • Lew Martin

      June 16, 2022 at 9:59 am

      More and more people don’t watch linear TV, that % will only grow in the years to come. Apple could buy a linear network within the next few years too. Old people (like me) used to think of ESPN as too niche. In the original movie “Total Recall” they have the World Series being broadcast on ESPN. I remember thinking, like ESPN could ever get the WS…now if WS was 100% on ESPN, most of us wouldn’t think it odd at all. My point being the days of linear TV being dominate are fading away.

  5. John Ketcham

    June 14, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    This is a great deal for the MLS fan but a bad deal for the Football fan. Apple TV + is my second favorite service after ESPN + but the added subscription takes me and most out of watching MLS and getting hooked. The beauty of the ESPN + deal is that I don’t have to pay extra to watch any match I want. It sounds like that won’t be the case here. Maybe they will offer preexisting customers a low rate like 20 bucks for the season, if not it’s unlikely for this package to grow fan interest. Congratulations to the MLS fan hopefully the package won’t cost to much

  6. Kj

    June 14, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Wondering is this means in-studio teams as well.

  7. Roberto

    June 14, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    The part that is not clear, to me, will there still be games on ESPN?

    • UnitedFan 3478

      June 14, 2022 at 2:28 pm

      Probably not

      • Tim

        June 14, 2022 at 3:44 pm

        They are still finalizing a deal. Seems like there will be a package on ESPN

        • Realignment

          June 15, 2022 at 4:30 am

          Probably an exclusive game of the week like they do with Sunday Night Baseball and probably pick up the MLS Cup Playoffs. That would make the most sense to me.

  8. Jasinho

    June 14, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Michael Corleone must have done the negotiations…

    “I’ll make MLS an offer they can’t refuse”.

  9. Ra

    June 14, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    I am not planning to subscribe to it, but the whole thing is very interesting. 10 years, global deal? This is a true experiment. I am curious to see how it goes.

    On a different note, I guess it is more likely now that ESPN+ will get Libertadores now. Both them and Vix have started battling for the Latino audience. Libertadores/Sudamericana would greatly improve ESPN’s offering.

    • UnitedFan 3478

      June 14, 2022 at 2:28 pm

      Nah, it will probably go to Paramount+

      • Ra

        June 14, 2022 at 2:35 pm

        I don’t see Paramount+ interested in the Spanish rights. Only if they split the rights with Vix+.

      • Ra

        June 14, 2022 at 2:35 pm

        ESPN+ or Paramount+, I don’t care. Not being on cable is good enough for me.

  10. JP

    June 14, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    If this doesn’t include simulcasts of local games on TV somewhere they are going to lose what little casual MLS fans already exist in most local markets. On the other hand, most MLS fans only care about their club so if they can still watch for free over traditional TV they won’t subscribe to this offering. So, guess I just talked myself into them not allowing local simulcasts on traditional TV!

    I actually like this model, just don’t care enough about MLS to subscribe. If NHL did this (very close to it with ESPN+, albeit with local blackouts) or any other of the big 4 sports it would be a homerun…but surely cost a lot more than whatever this MLS package will cost.

    • SteveK

      June 14, 2022 at 2:30 pm

      JP, the way I read the reporting on this is that Apple will allow MLS to negotiate national simulcasts of some select games on a ESPN or FOX but there won’t be “local” deals, and certainly not all inclusive local deals. Smart move on their part, buy an iPhone or iPad or aTV, watch the aTV+ app on your Roku et al, and break away from the cable local regional sports trap.

    • Mercator

      June 14, 2022 at 3:08 pm

      JP, how many people really watch these local games? In most markets the local broadcaster is Bally sports or something that most fans don’t have anyway, or a minor local broadcaster casual viewers have never heard of. In my market the local broadcaster was some random OTA channel last year, you couldn’t pick it up in most of the city and it wasn’t in cable packages. This year it was on the local RSN, which again the vast majority of fans do not have and aren’t going to pay $70 to DirectTV to get. No one casual was watching these local games anyway – MLS will be far better off having MLS games plastered all over the Apple TV app like they have done with MLB (this is GLOBAL exposure well beyond a single city’s TV market).

      I think for the simulcast they will just give Fox/ESPN or Univision the pick of one or two games a week/month, and let the broadcaster pick the best game to air. This should ensure the biggest or most attractive games are the most likely to also end up on TV (and it sounds like Apple also intends to make these big games free or at least available on ATV+). I would bet ATV+ will be the new “national” games with a couple of games a week, free or free with an apple subscription. Local games will be what is on the additional subscription.

      • JP

        June 14, 2022 at 3:35 pm

        @Mercator, for me last couple seasons the local matches were on a CBS affiliated MyTV. Probably in most markets, OTA and usually re-runs on old sitcoms and news from the local CBS affiliate. I watched more here than when they were on the NBC RSN. Still not a ton, but a smattering during the summer. Think a lot of people are similar, out of sight out of mind…and even if already on AppleTV+, won’t care enough to subscribe if it costs more. This is great for MLS fans though. Love the model of everything in one place and no blackouts. Hopefully successful so other leagues can follow.

        • Sally

          June 15, 2022 at 8:56 am

          The only MLS team I’m even remotely interested in is my local team and I only watch them on OTA since they are blacked out on ESPN+

          I actually rarely even get around to watching the games I Dvr since I am more interested in European and South American leagues and there is only so much time in the day.

          If there is no local ota option I’ll probably never watch MLS.

  11. Anthony

    June 14, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    The only time I really watch MLS is when I can see a game is on via the ESPN app, some Fox TV network, etc. Now I will need to specifically check for NYCFC, Atlanta, or other teams I may have a passing interest in watching. Apple knows I watch a lot of soccer on ESPN+ and NBC, and they often notify me when a game is “close.” Will they be pushing MLS content to me in the same way? They may need to in order to get me to watch.

    • Mercator

      June 14, 2022 at 2:55 pm

      Anthony, it should be much easier if MLS is going to stick to a Saturday/Wednesday schedule. Tune in Sat night and Weds night on Apple TV, really is that simple. Apple pushes their Friday Night Baseball games to my devices and I don’t watch baseball, so I’m sure they will do the same for MLS games.

    • Lew Martin

      June 16, 2022 at 10:07 am

      Real issue is local affiliates and clubs are the only ones trying to grow the league in English language broadcast.. ESPN/Fox aired matches but didn’t seem to be a partner in growing the league. This is deal should be viewed as a partnership to grow both sports on AppleTV+ AND grow the league. Content so that people from San Jose and find out about players who play for New England hopefully becomes story telling opportunities.

  12. SteveK

    June 14, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    I’m with Mercator on this as an incredible move, media rights-wise this is skating to where the puck will be rather than where it is now. A 10 year global rights deal for every game anywhere in the world that trumps all the niggling hassles of country specific rights renewals, cable plan bickering or linear TV rights and will grab the device-savvy millennials right now and keep them for the next decade. Very smart of both Apple and MLS, especially in that MLS only makes more money if Apple sells more subscriptions. And I’m saying this as someone who will never, ever watch a MLS game, not even the free ones on AppleTV+ and as someone who owns 3 AppleTVs, uses them everyday and watches ALL of our media through our Apple TVs.

    Of course, this will be trumped in significance when Apple announces its deal with the NFL.

    • dave

      June 14, 2022 at 2:10 pm

      @SteveK, is it skating to where the puck will be or is it abandoning back-checking duties in search of breakaway glory? I suppose time will tell. It will be very fun to follow
      .
      The risk is that data show people generally want to reduce and consolidate streaming subscriptions (though surveyed intentions and real-world behaviors are not always congruent). I have not seen updated data during 8% inflation and $5 gas, but I would guess even upper middle class is looking more closely than usual at new and recurring spend
      .
      Agree with you that the 10-year global deal gets rid of a lot of hassles. It allows MLS and Apple to play the long game. Much like the deals for NFL, NCAA, NBA, etc. Apple’s cash also means they can be very patient and wait for consumer confidence to rebound

      • SteveK

        June 14, 2022 at 2:37 pm

        dave, I like your style, they are definitely “abandoning back-checking duties” and in the process giving millennials what they say they want. Don’t the surveys say as much as 60% of the MLS fanbase are millennials? They are locking in local fans who will be in the stands watching the aTV+ whip around show on their iPhones while their main game is going on. They are making the case for these millennials that of all the streaming subs to drop aTV+ is not one of them.

  13. DiRT

    June 14, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    So when I’m out and about and want to watch a game on my Android phone…

    • Sam

      June 14, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      yes you can through tv.apple.com on the Android browser

    • locofooty

      June 14, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      lmao. The app they end up designing should be avail on android. At the very least, the MLS app should allow for authenticating an apple subscription and let you watch maybe not with the full features if on an apple device.

  14. nickp91

    June 14, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    BIG deal for MLS With this and Ted Lasso

    • Lew Martin

      June 16, 2022 at 10:08 am

      Can’t hurt lol

  15. dave

    June 14, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    Any early guess on cost? Apple is a wild card since $2.5 billion is a rounding error on their balance sheet. One of the few companies in the world that can ignore short-term cash flow and focus on the full 10 years
    .
    Back-envelope, maybe 2 million people will pay for MLS. On the one hand, it is probably a high estimate, on the other Apple will use its marketing muscle to drive global interest
    .
    If there were 2 million paying customers and if Apple covered costs with subscriptions, they would need to charge $125 per year. So my first guess is $150 per year or $15 per month. As @locofooty notes, season tickets may increase to fund this “free” added benefit

    • Kei

      June 14, 2022 at 1:36 pm

      MLS could (and probably will) sell the subs in several ways: by the month, by the season, with “premier” contents (both monthly and season), etc. The real question is how many people will actually take them up on it — they could be in for a pretty rude awakening.

    • SteveK

      June 14, 2022 at 1:51 pm

      dave, my prediction is Apple will charge whatever the going monthly rate for Peacock or Paramount+ is at the time, so say $5 a month if you are already subscribing to the $20/mo Apple One Family or $30/mo Premier plans. Anything above that for the first year would probably seem extortionate if that’s how you are getting aTV+

      • dave

        June 14, 2022 at 2:35 pm

        @SteveK, your perspective makes good competitive sense. I am curious how the deal accounts for your point about needing an Apple TV+ subscription in addition to the MLS add-on. If I understand your comment, getting full MLS would be $20+$5 or $30+$5 per month for a new-to-Apple customer even if all they want is MLS. I am thinking, perhaps erroneously, someone can buy only full MLS for $15 per month
        .
        Since MLS gets a cut of profit sharing, I wonder how much of the base Apple TV+ subscription will be credited as MLS revenue. I would guess a small army of lawyers and accountants have been assigned to discussions like these

        • SteveK

          June 14, 2022 at 2:59 pm

          I am not considering what it would cost for someone completely “new” to Apple, I only replied thinking what the new MLS plan would cost as an add-on to what existing aTV+ subscribers are already paying–and that I think most aTV+ subscribers are already indoctrinated Apple customers, they have had iPhones and iPads for years and are already paying Apple something monthly for some services like iCloud for backups, Music for music streaming and they probably got aTV+ for a year or two completely for free because they bought an iPhone or iPad. Certainly millennials are already invested and already getting some services from Apple. MLS won’t get a penny of any of this “services” revenue. They won’t get a penny of any new subscriptions to aTV+ in general–which is $5 a month if purchased alone…and I suspect the lawyers have already hashed out just how much of this new MLS sub gets kicked back to the MLS and it is probably progressive, i.e. not very much initially until certain sales incentives are reached. Apple is basically saying to MLS be a good partner and you will be rewarded.

          The reason I mentioned the Apple One family and premier plans is Apple allows these to be shared by 5 members of your family. That’s parents and kids and grandparents all sharing the various services like Games, Music, iCloud storage, aTV+ they are all used locally on whatever devices they have, can all be used simultaneously on any number of screens, that’s an awful lot of “service” for say $20 a month. I can see Apple going $5/mo for these subscribers for the first year, I can even see Apple giving the MLS plan free to these subscribers for the first year. For anyone that is not an Apple One Family or Premier subscriber it would be the $4.99/mo for aTV+ (none of which the MLS gets) and then say $10 month for the MLS plan.

          • Mercator

            June 14, 2022 at 3:33 pm

            Exactly Steve, you get it! Apple (like google) allows you to share your subscriptions across a family. It’s why I use Youtube TV, it can be shared with 4 other accounts! I’ve basically had Apple TV free since the beginning because someone in my family is getting it free with an apple device or something.

            More importantly, there are a billion iPhone users in the world, usually wealthier than average. I was pushed notices about MLB games when Apple launched the Friday baseball. Imagine Apple pushing a notification “Free MLS Game of the Week” or whatever to its billion iPhone users. This is why its laughable to complain about it not being on TV or local broadcasts – these are small numbers compared to the group apple is able to reach.

            And wait until the 2026 world cup. It won’t just be US fans saying hey I want to check out the New York or LA teams. In the Americas timezone, the MLS is going to be by far the best produced, most easily accessible, best funded league. I watch A league late night if I’m working because the timezone works, there are tons of people in Europe or Asia happy to watch live football at 2am on a Saturday – MLS will be by far the most accessible for those fans. This is the biggest step MLS has made to becoming a truly top global league since expanding into Canada.

          • dave

            June 14, 2022 at 3:34 pm

            @SteveK, thank you for the thorough description of Apple TV+. I decline the pop-ups for free Apple TV+ but they sure push aggressively with tablets and phones. It is very helpful to have the plan details from a subscriber
            .
            The health of Apple TV+, overall and with demographic subsets, is unclear. Apple revealed they had under 20 million paying Apple TV+ customers in North America late last year (this allows them to pay a lower rate to their production labor). I have never seen great demographic data on Apple TV+ customers. If I were to guess, Apple TV+ customers tend to skew young and affluent which tends to overlap with one of MLS’ target segments. If nothing else, this deal will be educational and entertaining

            • SteveK

              June 14, 2022 at 4:13 pm

              dave, I think of aTV+ as a lot like ESPN+ in that it is mostly subscribed to as part of a bundle–don’t you suspect most people “get” ESPN+ because they mainly subscribe to the Disney bundle pricing for Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+ I do not think Disney breaks out sole subscriber numbers for ESPN+ likewise Apple doesn’t really break out services revenue when it reports it is experiencing explosive growth. How much of that growth is due to subscriptions is not made public.

              And yes Mercator I feel you get it, too, it is the global rights aspect of this that is the most far reaching…this is actually what I wanted the Premier League to do instead of renewing rights country-wide for the next 6 years, I wanted them to roll out a PremFlix streaming service, as Simon Jordan in the UK popularized it, to anyone globally for a fixed price. All games live to anyone with an internet connection cutting out the middlemen vampires like Comcast, Sky, BT Sport, etc.

              • dave

                June 14, 2022 at 4:44 pm

                @SteveK, I think you and I probably see Apple TV+ very differently. I am in the Apple ecosystem but see no need or value for Apple TV+. Others are mostly outside the Apple ecosystem but pay for Apple TV+ based on content (mostly scripted, though with a growing sports focus). The branding of Apple, Apple TV, and Apple TV+ is confusing which is a surprise given Apple usually are outstanding at marketing
                .
                You are probably right that being in the Apple ecosystem increases the probability that someone pays for Apple TV+. But I think the overwhelming majority of people globally who own an iPhone or iPad never pay for Apple TV+. Apple TV+ have give or take 40 million global paying subscribers while give or take a billion people globally own an iPhone. An optimist might say “look at the upsell potential!”

              • dave

                June 14, 2022 at 4:57 pm

                @SteveK, off topic a bit, but I agree with your belief that a lot of ESPN+ likely comes from the bundle. For sure at least 4 million subscriptions, since you can no longer pay for Hulu Live without subscribing to the full Disney bundle
                .
                If I were a Disney executive, I would be worried about what sustained poor financial results for ESPN+ might mean for an eventual ESPN OTT. Last I checked, Disney still reported a sub-$5 ARPU for ESPN+. Comments about the unit often include a version of “overall losses worsened based on deteriorating results at ESPN+, offset by modestly reduced losses at Disney+ and increased profitability at Hulu”

        • Don Roberts

          June 14, 2022 at 11:13 pm

          I can see apple combining this with Friday night baseball and if they have NFL Sunday ticket into one package and selling the whole thing for $200-$300 a year. Yes this is about the price Sunday ticket goes for now but the added audience will help grow the MLS deal.

    • Michael

      June 15, 2022 at 11:14 am

      @Dave. To just compare a few annual plans: MLB.TV = $119.00 (162 game schedule minus blackouts), NBA League Pass = $199.00 (82 game schedule – minus blackouts), NHL Center Ice = $59.99, (82 games – blackouts), EPL = $49.99 (38 game schedule minus broadcast games). I left off NFL Sunday ticket because that would be comparing apples to oranges….but if we just look at these four I would guess that the MLS package would probably cost mores than the NHL Center Ice, but less than the MLB.TV. What are your thoughts?

      • dave

        June 15, 2022 at 2:03 pm

        @Michael, thank you for the benchmarks. Based on data you provide, looks like ~$100 per year on average often gets a fan access to many, but not all, games in a league
        .
        A trick for Apple and MLS is the lack of meaningful alternate revenue streams. MLB, for example, makes bank on RSN and national deals. I believe those are “blackouts” (for those who watch lawfully) on MLB.tv. Since MLS and Apple will forego revenue like that, do they try to make up for it by pricing their stream higher?
        .
        It is an interesting business problem, with the added dimension that Apple could spend $2.5 billion in a year and only their accountants would notice. Apple have a flexibility to price for market share (initially or full-term) where many entities need to price for break-even if not profit
        .
        MLS being a profit-share partner may not be happy if Apple do not focus on turning an early profit. I can see scenarios where the sides are quickly at odds – Apple running experiments and playing a long game while MLS prefer to see profit-sharing

        • SteveK

          June 15, 2022 at 2:34 pm

          One key for me on this dave is that Apple has gotten MLS to produce all of this, hire all the talent, build out all the facilities and infrastructure to support this, that’s all coming out of the basic yearly MLS rights fee and that’s money MLS is incentivized to spend building up their own little version of Premier League Productions that they don’t have to share with the teams or players. Apple is helping MLS put out the best product possible.

        • Lew Martin

          June 16, 2022 at 10:26 am

          Most frustrating thing for we who live in Alabama is we are considered Atlanta viewing area for MLS and Braves. We are blacked out and Bally Sports is not available to be an add-on. We use VPN to get around it but it’s frustrating. No blackouts is huge for me.

  16. Don

    June 14, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    Not doing it. I already pay for ESPN+ and Paramount Plus I’m not paying for apple just to watch our mls clubs. Hopefully this will open ESPN plus up to being able to broadcast more clubs from Europe like the entire dutch league not just the 1-3 matches they get. Or Belgium or Ireland Scotland among others.

  17. Kei

    June 14, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    This is essentially discarding the casual audience, which is the exact opposite of what a league that still has tons of work to do to establish more air time and street cred should be doing… but I guess if the idea is to eliminate the TV viewership problems (and the perception of a lack of buzz/pizzazz/popularity) by simply pretending they don’t exist to begin with, then it does make perfect sense for them to couch it in groundbreaking and innovative thinking.

    The whole “watch every game with no blackout restrictions” thing seems captive to the idea that the league and its teams could excite audiences at even the local level, never mind the national and the global. This feels like the same tack that NBC/Comcast took with their Premier League properties, except with an even smaller audience.

    I’m not entirely sure what’s in it for Apple with this deal, other than as a pure loss leader.

    • Kei

      June 14, 2022 at 1:27 pm

      And my guess is that many (if not all) franchises will implement season tickets hikes to make up for the inclusion of the “free” Apple TV package (if they weren’t already planning to raise prices). This smacks of a misplaced belief in its own ability to create legit revenue streams and to actually make use of them.

    • dave

      June 14, 2022 at 1:36 pm

      @Kei, it seems very risky for the casual audience. I assume that is why MLS are reportedly planning to simulcast some games non-exclusively on ESPN and Univision. Get casual fans hooked on the free linear product and then encourage them to upgrade for full access

      • locofooty

        June 14, 2022 at 1:57 pm

        It’s kind of worrisome as the league’s strength is in attendance and not on TV ratings. Tix prices are not on the lower end to being with already. Will be interesting to see where this goes. Like @SteveK says, it’s really a leap forward as to how leagues and broadcast rights could/will look 10 years from now. We’ll see if the gamble pays off.

  18. Yespage

    June 14, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Really excited to read that Gus Ferguson will be leading the commentary team. 😀

  19. dave

    June 14, 2022 at 1:01 pm

    A few other items that I have seen:
    .
    * Apple will have rights and show games in both English and Spanish
    * ESPN and Univision will supposedly simulcast some games, pending agreement on terms. Linear games would be non-exclusive and would also be on Apple TV
    * MLS schedule will be modified to very-heavy-Saturday, allowing for a whip-around show and fewer but more predictable windows
    * Deal is $2.5 billion for 10 years (seems very low), sweetened by 1) profit-sharing where MLS gets a portion of Apple’s excess subscriptions, and 2) linear simulcast deals
    .
    Interesting. Some positive elements, and certainly better than the worst case

    • Realignment

      June 15, 2022 at 5:00 am

      Won’t shock me if it’s FOX and Univision since both don’t have declared streaming platforms. That’s what I’m thinking or possibly Turner Sports.

  20. Buckles

    June 14, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Is this included with a regular Apple TV subscription, which is at a very reasonable cost? Or is it an additional cost?

    • dave

      June 14, 2022 at 1:03 pm

      @Buckles, what I have read is that the standard subscription will include some content but that an additional subscription will be needed for full access. Details and price points TBD

      • Buckles

        June 14, 2022 at 6:15 pm

        Yes, thank you. As I read more articles on this, it became clear that there will be a subscription fee for the MLS package.
        I hope that the linear network deal includes all playoff games and MLS cup. Not sure it can have a “big game feel” without that. Either way $250 million a year for 10 years is a good deal
        For MLS. Let’s hope it leads to higher payrolls and more talent.

    • Daniel

      June 14, 2022 at 1:07 pm

      The answer to your question is in the article.

  21. Mercator

    June 14, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Incredible move. Even more incredible, MLS is saying all games will not be Weds or Sat night. So Wends and Saturday night whip around show with MLS, 1080p quality, no blackouts, all in one place *chefs kiss*

    If MLS can get the right studio and announcers (like Higginbotham and Ray Hudson), put together a “drive to survive” like show for MLS, whip around shows… this could blow what ESPN and Fox have been doing completely out of the water.

    Get everything off linear TV – I want to be able to watch everything paying my $5 a month for ESPN/Apple/Peacock and Paramount. $20 bucks a month total and more football than I could watch, from every top league. God bless streaming.

  22. Rick

    June 14, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    Less access behind a paywall- the regular tv viewer will not see any games.

    This requires a subscription- viewers already pay enough for the paywalls.

    Every major soccer league on different streaming services- game will be accessible to the privleaged that can pay.

    Sad to see soccer going in this direction.

    • Free Rider

      June 14, 2022 at 1:52 pm

      Some games will be free. What’s the issue?

      • Lou

        June 14, 2022 at 10:47 pm

        Very few games will be free and who cares if it’s a match of a team I don’t follow. MLS does not do well with national audiences, its a regional league and always has been. The idea that Apple TV will see huge subscriber numbers for a league that has trouble drawing on free TV is not steeped in reality. This deal has the stench as being a loser for both parties.

  23. Bram+Weiser

    June 14, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    Based on this preliminary announcement, my first read is that it’s a huge turnoff for those of us who’d still want to watch matches on TV in some form.

    A non-exclusive (because Apple would stream them as well, anyway) national TV deal is, I understand, still being negotiated but this Apple deal removes regular local/regional TV match coverage from the mix starting in 2023.

    If so, then, simply put, if MLS makes it so I can’t watch, then I won’t watch, and, for myself and others who feel as I do, that’s a BIG Unforced Error for the league and its teams to be making, and one that I doubt they can easily afford to make, either.

    • Taylor

      June 14, 2022 at 12:46 pm

      You can still watch it on a tv. All you need the Apple TV app or if your TV doesn’t have the app a Roku or Fire Stick, etc.

      • Bram+Weiser

        June 14, 2022 at 2:07 pm

        Thanks, @Taylor, but that’s not the same thing, and I think that people know that. Your solution still requires a paid subscription to this new Apple MLS service (aside from the however-many-or-few matches that would air “free” anyway, and those that’d air in the possibly-still-yet-to-happen network deal).

        My earlier comments stand.

    • BronzeCheetah

      June 14, 2022 at 3:33 pm

      No, you dont have to pay if you dont want too. There will free games available and unless you have the cheapest of cheap non-smart television, all you have to do is download the AppleTV app and you are watching the game on TV. All the major brands of tvs have the app available in their app stores

      • Bram Weiser

        June 15, 2022 at 7:14 am

        Thanks, @BronzeCheetah, but those reported two (2) free games per week (or so) in the app, plus those that appear on national TV networks, are still far less than what local fans of the various teams get now. Also, those network games air now, so that’s not a change.

        What I heard from Don Garber in his comments after the news originally broke also missed the mark…it’s not either/or (that the rights could either go to streaming OR to television)…both can work together simultaneously. Local/Regional TV can supplement the kind of universal streaming that Apple is getting by simulcasting games to local audiences over their air, yet he seems to think that’s impossible. He’s mistaken, and is harming his product by taking this stand, and losing fans that the league can hardly afford to lose.

        My earlier comments stand.

  24. locofooty

    June 14, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    “As an added benefit to fans, access to the new MLS streaming service will be included as part of MLS full-season ticket packages.”

    Expect season tickets to go up smh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Leagues: MLS

Translate »