With MLS Season Pass, Major League Soccer and Apple have created a streaming service ahead of its time. No other soccer league worldwide has a deal that’s as revolutionary. The 10-year partnership, unheard of in soccer circles, ensures anyone can sign up and pay to watch games on a single platform. No blackouts. No headaches. Hundreds of soccer games every season until the end of 2032. Given its promising start as a service, how do we grade MLS Season Pass thus far?

MLS has invested enormous amounts of money into producing games on MLS Season Pass. It has arguably created the best soccer whip-around show, MLS 360. Plus it invested in production facilities, talent, and improving the visuals and audio of all of its games. On top of that, last year, it hired approximately 90 commentators and co-commentators to call games on-site at every stadium.

Here are the pros and cons of MLS Season Pass for 2024:

Where Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass passes the grade

1) MLS 360 – New host Kevin Egan has made the show so much better with his energy and enthusiasm. The chemistry between Sacha Kljestan, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Kaylyn Kyle, and Egan is much better than last season under previous host Liam McHugh. Sure, there are a lot of commercial breaks, but MLS 360 is now the best part of MLS Season Pass, which is an incredible achievement in such a short amount of time.

2) MLS Countdown – Major League Soccer’s pre-game show on MLS Season Pass is much improved this season too. Host Liam McHugh, along with his guests, provides a really good preview of what games and storylines to watch out for every Saturday night.

3) It looks and sounds fantastic. Production of games, both in visuals and audio, is much improved compared to pre-MLS Season Pass. The picture quality is outstanding across the league.

4) Star power – Knowing that Messi and/or Suarez are playing most weekends is a major plus for neutrals wanting a reason to tune into watching a game on MLS Season Pass. That makes a huge difference.

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Areas of improvement needed

1) Unfulfilled promises of additional content – When MLS announced its deal with Apple in 2022, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, “We could not be more excited to bring our fans MLS Season Pass, a new home for all MLS matches and a wide variety of league and club content they can’t get anywhere else.” Unfortunately, that promise of a “wide variety of league and club content” has been largely ignored.

MLS Season Pass is the ideal platform to launch a series of must-see content that drives people to watch the service on non-gamedays. To date, however, there hasn’t been any series or content worth mentioning.

2) Price – There’s no avoiding it. MLS Season Pass is expensive compared to other streaming services offering a greater quantity of games and other programming. If you’re a hardcore MLS fan, you’ll understand the value of getting everything included for that price. For casual or curious fans, however, the price is certainly an obstacle.

MLS Season Pass is a fun watch but an expensive one. At $14.99 per month (or $99 per season), it’s the most costly of all soccer-related streaming services. For $5.99/month, you get more than 2,000 live soccer games per month on Paramount+.

3) Android – You have to be an Android user to understand this one. In the United States, 40% of consumers have an Android phone. Worldwide, that number climbs to 70% Android adoption. While it’s possible to watch MLS Season Pass on an Android phone, you have to watch it through your phone’s web browser. There isn’t an Apple TV app. Simply said, the user experience is less than ideal for Android users.

Not only is the experience less than ideal for Android users but sometimes MLS Season Pass is way too over-the-top for Apple. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, one of the segments on MLS 360 asked viewers a trivia question on-air. To find out the answer, viewers were told to ask Siri the question. Seriously. In doing so, you’re alienating your audience who are Android users.

4) Lack of quality commentators and co-commentators – One of the biggest issues with MLS Season Pass is the lack of quality commentators. This season, MLS has made budget cuts and removed a lot of quality broadcasters who have tremendous experience in the business. In doing so, MLS has replaced many of them with several announcers who don’t have the experience of calling big soccer games.

MLS has become over-reliant on putting Jake Zivin and Taylor Twellman on all marquee games. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it does send the message that if Zivin and Twellman aren’t calling a game, it isn’t a marquee matchup.

Last but not least, MLS’ decision not to rehire Christina Unkel as a referee rules analyst was poor. This season more than any other one, MLS Season Pass desperately needs a rules analyst, and Unkel is the best in the business.

Photo: IMAGO / SOPA Images

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