Apple’s MLS Season Pass could very well soon be available for soccer fans in China. The streaming service is the current home of Major League Soccer here in North America. The top flight previously agreed to a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal to exclusively broadcast all MLS and Leagues Cup games.

MLS Season Pass is currently accessible in a plethora of countries around the world. Nevertheless, China is not one of these nations at the moment. This, however, could change in the coming months according to a new report. The Information claims that Apple hasn’t launched any subscription or media services in China since 2017 because “it has faced rising government restrictions on its existing businesses, such as iCloud.”

The news outlet goes on to add that Apple is now pursuing ways to launch its content services, such as Apple TV+, in China. Apple TV+ is not exactly the same as MLS Season Pass, but they are closely related. If Apple does extend into China shortly, MLS Season Pass would certainly be involved in the move.

Apple looking to expand business as iPhone sales plummet

While the streaming service is not currently available in China, Apple does currently sell their iPhones in the country. Despite being the second-largest market in the world behind the United States, iPhone sales have fallen dramatically in recent months. Bloomberg recently reported that shipments of the smartphone to China were down 33% compared to the previous year.

As a result of falling phone sales, Apple would love to create additional revenue in the lucrative Chinese market. Despite the previous concerns, launching Apple TV+, as well as MLS Season Pass, in China would unquestionably give the tech company a significant financial boost.

China’s overall population has surpassed 1.4 billion and much like the U.S., soccer is growing in the Asian nation. It was reported back in 2020 that 600 million people in China watched the English Premier League. The opportunity for MLS to expand its audience and reach these fans is an opportunity too good to pass up.

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MLS worries about recent PR disaster in Hong Kong

At the same time, there will be concerns about the reception Lionel Messi and MLS could face in China after the PR disaster that happened in Hong Kong. Inter Miami previously played a friendly in Hong Kong during their preseason preparations. The Argentine superstar traveled with his team. Most fans expected Messi to feature in the game. Nevertheless, Messi never made it off of the bench and later revealed that he was dealing with a minor injury.

Despite the injury, Messi managed to play in Japan just a few days later. As a result, Hong Kong fans were left furious that they paid high prices for the game, only for the star to not even play. Match organizers eventually offered a 50% refund to the complaining fans.

World Soccer Talk reached out to Apple on the issue, but the spokesperson was unavailable for comment.


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