Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue wants Major League Soccer (MLS) to eventually become the best soccer league in the world. The executive at the mammoth tech company cited the sheer economic power of the United States. He made the claims at the recent Soccerex Miami event.

“When I think of America, it’s the biggest country in the world, the most [powerful] economic country in the world,” stated Cue. “So, when I looked at soccer, people think it’s crazy, but why wouldn’t we have the best soccer league in the world? Why wouldn’t the best players want to play here?”

“When I looked at the 10 years, yeah, in my mind, we got into this because we thought that together, we could build the best soccer league in the world. That’s the goal. That’s the objective. You know, we’re trying to be the best. Otherwise, why do it?”

Apple executive expects MLS to challenge as the best league with the help of Messi

Cue went on to acknowledge the leagues currently atop the global charts as the biggest soccer divisions. However, he also emphasized the impact that Lionel Messi has had on MLS so far. The Argentine superstar arrived at Inter Miami earlier this summer with much fanfare. Ticket prices and jersey sales initially soared as many caught Messi mania.

Although Miami failed to reach the playoffs this season, the Apple exec is expecting Messi’s effect on soccer here Stateside to continue well into the future. The World Cup winner currently has two more years under contract with the MLS side.

“Obviously, right now there’s Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A and all that standpoint around, all these different leagues,” continued Cue. “But you’re starting to see this – Messi wanting to come play here says a whole lot. There’s a lot of players that are going to want to come play here and be part of this growth, of this opportunity.”

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“And so, when I go out and look at the 10 years, the way we’re going to measure it is, are we going to be one of the best leagues in the world? That’s success. That’s what we need to be striving for.”

Recent studies claimed that MLS did not crack the top 25 leagues

Despite Cue’s comments, MLS has a long way to go to challenge the likes of the Premier League and LaLiga. A study released earlier in the year ranked MLS as the 29th most competitive soccer league in the world. The analysis was done by sports intelligence agency Twenty-First Group.

While the study was conducted before Messi’s arrival, another review of soccer leagues was released in August. This was, of course, just one month after the Argentine’s arrival to the States. Opta compiled the new list of top soccer leagues in the world and MLS found themselves in a familiar position. The United States-based company claimed that MLS was once again the 29th-best league.

Apple previously agreed a 10-year deal with MLS to become their streaming partner ahead of the 2023 season. There is still plenty of time for the league to grow before the aforementioned deal expires. However, the tech company will be hoping that the league can attract more talent in the upcoming offseason.

Apple needs to look in the mirror

Part of the challenge for Major League Soccer to become “the best soccer league in the world” is self-induced by Apple. The giants of world football — Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, etcetera — generate their largest percentage of revenue from TV deals. With Major League Soccer receiving a minimum guarantee of $250 million per season from Apple for global rights, that’s a tiny drop in the bucket compared to other leagues. For instance, the Premier League receives a total of $4.3 billion per season from its worldwide rights deals.

If Apple is serious about its goal to make MLS the best soccer league in the world, it needs to start by paying MLS considerably more money.