Apple is described by Sports Business Journal as “one of the most secretive companies in the world.” So, it’s not much of a surprise that Apple is keeping viewing numbers for games on MLS Season Pass close to its chest. Nevertheless, an industry expert has been able to determine the Lionel Messi impact on MLS Season Pass from this week’s Leagues Cup game.

That match was Tuesday night’s Inter Miami against Atlanta United game, which was available exclusively on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass. During the match, Messi led Inter Miami to a 4-0 victory in another entertaining night of soccer.

It was a game that’s one of the three most-watched games on MLS Season Pass so far this season. The other two were Miami-Cruz Azul and the MLS All-Star Game against Arsenal.

First details of Messi’s impact on MLS Season Pass

To date, though, trying to find any metrics relating to MLS viewership on MLS Season Pass has been almost impossible. To begin with, Apple and MLS have prevented any details from being shared publicly. Hence, it’s been down to industry experts to investigate what numbers are available.

Thankfully, someone has come to the rescue.

“Messi moved the needle,” says Sports TV Ratings expert Robert Seidman. “No match detail is available, but aggregate Apple TV+ platform viewing is [I’m] told up on Tuesday 75% versus last week.

“On its own, that 75% would have amounted to an average minute audience of approximately 230,000, but the actual match could have been higher. [I] think the reverse-engineered 230,000 is a respectable number for MLS on Apple TV+.”

In comparison, the average minute audience for Wednesday night’s USA against Netherlands game on FOX Sports’ streaming was 196,938. That same game posted an average minute audience of 244,000 viewers on Telemundo digital (Peacock and Telemundo app). So MLS Season Pass being in the ballpark of the US Women’s National Team is a positive.

Our Pick:

Includes: Every regular season game, MLS Cup Playoffs, Leagues Cup, & More

Sign Up

Additional details on viewing metrics

Seidman’s reverse engineering is based on US viewership only. Inter Miami’s victory versus Atlanta was a game that was available worldwide. Albeit, the kickoff time of 7:30PM ET would not have been ideal for many overseas viewers.

Additionally, Seidman adds that the numbers he shared include any streaming via the Apple TV app on connected devices and smart TVs, but not phones. Measurement company Nielsen Media Research currently doesn’t include phones in streaming numbers, at this time.

Inter Miami’s next game is Wednesday, August 2nd in the Leagues Cup. The match is live on MLS Season Pass.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire