Actual statistics regarding MLS Season Pass have been difficult to obtain in the last year. After all, Apple and Major League Soccer have tried their best to keep official streaming numbers private. The streaming service, created in collaboration with the two companies, is the exclusive broadcasting home of the North American division.

Nevertheless, a recent report by Sports Business Journal is shedding light on the situation. The news outlet claims that MLS Season Pass surpassed two million subscribers at the end of the 2023 campaign. It was previously reported that the streaming service was closing in on one million users back in late July.

This previous timestamp coincided with Lionel Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami. The superstar officially joined the MLS side on July 15th. A separate report by Antenna claims that the streaming service experienced a boost of 110,000 new subscribers on the day of Messi’s debut with Miami. This was a 280% increase in users compared to those who signed up on the first day of the 2023 season.

Not all 2 million MLS Season Pass subscribers are paying for service

The Messi Effect undoubtedly helped Apple and MLS grab significantly more subscribers to the streaming service. However, the final tally of users does not exactly tell the full story. A fairly large chunk of MLS Season Pass subscribers have not paid for the service.

MLS season ticket holders currently receive the streaming service for free as a bonus along with their tickets. According to recent data, an estimated 420,000 people have season tickets for MLS clubs. This would be over 20% of the total number of subscribers to MLS Season Pass.

Along with season ticket holders, MLS previously partnered with other companies to offer the streaming service as a promotional deal. For instance, T-Mobile previously announced that all of their mobile phone users would gain free access to MLS matches via the streaming service. The communications brand is currently the third-largest wireless carrier in the United States. The total number of actual paid MLS Season Pass subscribers is not publicly available.

MLS is banking on Messi and Miami to have a successful season

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Apple and MLS start the second season of their 10-year broadcasting deal. The agreement currently in place earns MLS teams a collective base annual fee of $250 million. This agreement was a sizable increase compared to the $95 million per year the league got in its last media deal. Nevertheless, MLS is on the hook for production costs under its agreement with Apple.

The North American division can, however, reach a certain subscription figure to earn bonuses from Apple. Although not publicly available, Apple and MLS have not hit this threshold just yet. MLS commissioner Don Garber previously called this part of the deal “risky” while speaking at a previous conference.

MLS seems ready to double down on the aforementioned Messi Effect in their attempts to boost ratings. The league will undoubtedly want and even need, Messi and Inter Miami to do well this coming season. MLS Season Pass subscriptions could very well largely fluctuate depending on the superstar’s success.

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Guide to Major League Soccer

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of MLS Season Pass!
TV Schedule: All the info on where and when to watch every game
Season Pass FAQ: We answer your questions about MLS Season Pass
Sign up: Learn how to subscribe to MLS Season Pass
Commentators: Check out who's calling the action for the MLS season
Android users Tips for fans Android users on how to watch MLS Season Pass