The second full season of MLS Season Pass is already one month old, and it is hard to say how successful Apple is with its mega-investment. Apple is reporting that it is content with the number of subscriptions the $2.5 billion deal that extends for 10 years is pulling in. Yet, the growth from year one will be a struggle to maintain with the success of Major League Soccer’s social platforms.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Major League Soccer rapidly posts every major goal throughout the competition. Likewise, each club has rapid updates for every major game moment. For the fans, it is great. It is easy to track the games as they happen if you are away from the TV. The global nature of the deal ensures this is a possibility for any fan worldwide. Yet, that ease of access may serve as a hindrance to new MLS Season Pass subscriptions.

With highlights so readily available, fans of Major League Soccer do not have as much incentive to subscribe. Instead, they have the security that the goals, major saves, red cards, and moments of drama will be on their social platforms at no cost. Granted, these highlights do not show everything. For example, Apple and MLS will not show moments of controversy regarding referee decisions, a common occurrence in the 2024 campaign. However, the most important information, and that fans want to see most, is goals.

No ‘fear of missing out’ for MLS Season Pass from Apple

Even if it goes against the wishes of more fairweather MLS fans, Apple and Major League Soccer must create a need for MLS Season Pass. Highlights the day after are standard across any league. Blocking off those would be too damaging to the league. Yet, limiting what fans can see could point more fans toward MLS Season Pass.

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Take what ESPN does with its soccer coverage on ESPN+, for example. Even though the ESPNFC social accounts could post highlights of La Liga, the Bundesliga, FA Cup, or other competitions. Sometimes, it will post select highlights only after a game ends. More often than not, the ESPN FC account posts still images of the game’s biggest moments. Recently, that included omitting social media highlights of the FA Cup quarterfinal between Manchester United and Liverpool.

Certainly, there may be other considerations at work in this specific example. The FA Cup social media account posts highlights without commentary. Therefore, they are available should fans actively seek out the clips. Still, ESPN’s lack of posting goal clips during games makes people want to watch.

By comparison, MLS fans have seen what they need to see, and they will not think that they have to turn the game on.

An effort to watch MLS

With the trust that they can find highlights as they happen, Major League Soccer fans may not make a concerted effort to subscribe to MLS Season Pass. The league and Apple must find the balance between building an audience through social media and channeling that into MLS Season Pass subscriptions.

What does that look like? It is hard to say. Assuredly the league’s goal is to grow the number of subscriptions on MLS Season Pass. Yet, there is an argument that creating a fan base with extensive coverage for free on social media could be a step in the right direction. Apple and MLS are certainly cashing in on Lionel Messi’s appearances with Inter Miami, as those clips regularly get hundreds of thousands of views. Most highlights of Messi’s goals surpass 1 million views on social media.

MLS should not fully stop these highlights as they certainly help spread the word of Major League Soccer. Finding a common ground to transform those views into active subscribers is the major task for the league and Apple.


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