The window of opportunity to increase Apple’s MLS Season Pass signups with Lionel Messi is rapidly closing. Shortly before the start of the Copa America and two friendlies in the US, the Argentine’s erratic nature will prompt him to report to training camp to ensure he is fit for the national team. Argentina will be Messi’s priority after a string of Inter Miami games from mid-April to the end of May.

On June 20, Argentina and Canada will face off in the first match of the Copa America. If Argentina advances to the final in Miami, the match is set to take place on July 14. Messi may choose to skip Inter Miami’s home games on July 17 and 20 if he helps advance his Argentina national side to the final. Soon enough, on July 27, Inter Miami will play in their first Leagues Cup 2024 match, and fans can watch the action live on MLS Season Pass.

So, from now until the end of May, Apple and MLS will be relying on Messi to boost subscriptions. At the tail end of July, MLS Season Pass should see his return.

The one unexpected development is that Messi is reportedly considering competing for Argentina at the next Olympics with the hopes of winning gold. If Messi goes, he will miss most of the Leagues Cup since those dates are July 26 through August 11. This year’s Leagues Cup will conclude on August 25, 2024.

With so much international attention, Lionel Messi may not be readily available to prop up MLS Season Pass like he did last season.

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Milestone yet to be reached

All eyes in Major League Soccer will be on one crucial statistic. As of now, the league is still short of the subscription target Apple had set for it. For Major League Soccer to earn money from subscriptions after receiving $250 million each season from Apple, the league must hit a subscriber barrier. That figure is not available for public knowledge as Apple carefully protects subscriber and viewership information.

If it reaches that mystical subscriber mark, MLS will receive half a dollar for every MLS Season Pass subscription sold. These funds may be reinvested by the league for use in a variety of initiatives. One option is for MLS to expand its base and sign more superstars.

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber expressed confidence in MLS Season Pass reaching the revenue-sharing level in December 2023.

“It’s a partnership, and that’s the most different aspect of it. After we hit the minimum guarantee from Apple, we make 50 cents of every dollar. That’s the risk in this deal. I’m highly, highly confident we’ll get into that revenue share.”

Is Messi the only lifeline for MLS Season Pass?

Reports state MLS Season Pass has two million subscribers. Still, that is below the subscriber count to unlock revenue sharing. Apple and MLS have remained tight-lipped about the milestone barrier. On top of that, some of them still aren’t paying for the MLS Season Pass. For instance, the product is given out at no cost to those who have season tickets.

Additionally, MLS Season Pass had fast growth with Messi’s debut in the summer of 2023. Time is of the essence for MLS since the Argentine has one more year remaining on his deal after the 2024 campaign.