Anyone who watched the recent MLS Season Pass press conference may have been forgiven for mistakenly thinking it was an event for Apple fanboys. Yes, there was some discussion about the talent that will be bringing MLS games to viewers. But a lot of the press conference sounded like it was an infomercial for Apple, the company.
“The MLS fan, for 26 years, has had to apologize for being a MLS fan, and they don’t have to apologize anymore,” explained MLS analyst Taylor Twellman on the stage at Apple. “I’m just very fortunate to be part of a [MLS-Apple] project that I think 10 years down the road, we may be talking about the same way that they talked about the iPhone 16 years ago [after it launched].”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber mentioned working in a partnership with “the most innovative and forward-thinking company in the history of the world.”
Sure, Apple is the largest technology company by revenue in the world, as well as world’s biggest company by market capitalization. At the same time, the Apple iPhone was one the most innovative products when launched.
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But for people outside the Apple ecosystem who may not have Apple iPhones, the Apple and MLS embrace leaves Android users feeling left out in the cold.
Will MLS promote MLS Season Pass to Android users?
Imagine for a minute if Google had acquired the streaming rights to Major League Soccer instead of Apple. Subsequently, what if Google decided to make all of the games available only on the Android OS, which they own? You can just imagine the cries of outrage from Apple fanboys.
But how concerned should MLS be, if at all, about Android usage?
As of press time, Android accounts for about 45 percent of the mobile operating system market in the United States, while iOS accounts for around 55 percent. Of more importance is that Android has a market share of 72% among the Latino community in the United States.
Therefore, given that the Hispanic population continues to grow and that audience skews more to streaming, it’s imperative that MLS addresses the concerns of Android users. Plus, when you consider that no Spanish-language TV network is showing MLS games this season, the issue is even more problematic.
Anecdotally, most of the soccer fans I’ve spoken with who have Android phones believe that they won’t be able to watch MLS games anymore. That isn’t correct because Android users can watch games on their devices using either Android TV or their browser. And an Apple TV app for Android may be on its way. However, the confusion among Android users is a prevalent issue that needs to be addressed.
But will they? Will Major League Soccer make a concerted effort to address an audience that is in direct competition with the products its new partner sells? Or will Android users be left to try to figure it out themselves?
MLS Season Pass launches on February 1, 2023.
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