Apple has been remarkably careful to protect MLS Season Pass statistics. The technology giant paid a massive $2.5 billion for the global streaming rights to Major League Soccer for 10 years. Its inaugural season has shown potential, but tangible success is still kept hidden.
The recent signing of global soccer phenom Lionel Messi to Inter Miami FC has created a surge in new subscriptions. According to data from analytics firm Antenna, Messi’s MLS debut led to a spike in sign-ups for MLS Season Pass.
One-day addition of 110,000 subscribers
On July 21, Messi played his first match for Inter Miami. That same day, MLS Season Pass added over 110,000 new US subscribers. This represented a massive 1,690% increase compared to the average of around 6,000 daily sign-ups the week prior. Antenna reported this 110,000 subscriber jump as the highest one-day gain ever for MLS Season Pass. It greatly exceeded subscription boosts from its February launch and the MLS season kickoff.
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It’s all about Messi
The presence of Messi, one of soccer’s biggest stars, also increased interest in Apple TV+. Fifteen percent of fans signing up for MLS Season Pass between February and July subscribed to Apple’s streaming service. Nearly half of MLS Season Pass subscribers already had an active Apple TV+ membership.
“There is only one Lionel Messi, so this was a very big moment for the sport in this country,” said Antenna CEO Jonathan Carson. “Sports are definitely star-driven but that has never before translated into an enormous subscriber bump.”
This dual subscription effect demonstrates the potential synergies between Apple’s streaming platforms. Live sports rights like MLS can drive interest in Apple TV+’s wider content selection and assist in retaining subscribers.
MLS Season Pass statistics show smart Apple investment
Last year, Apple signed that landmark 10-year deal with MLS. Apple aims to leverage soccer’s popularity and Messi’s star appeal to increase subscriptions. Per Carson, sports fans tend to be more loyal streaming subscribers versus viewers who temporarily sign up for hit shows.
This allows Apple to highlight its broader programming and potentially retain soccer followers. While Apple, Amazon and Google fiercely compete for premium sports streaming rights, MLS Season Pass’ early returns indicate Apple’s MLS deal is proving successful. Messi has spurred interest and sign-ups, while cross-selling opportunities look promising for MLS and Apple TV+ growth.
The “Messi effect” has delivered tangible subscription bumps for Apple’s streaming services so far. But, the global icon’s presence in MLS promises continued gains in subscribers and viewership moving forward. As Messi takes the field each week, he will garner international attention and buzz for the league. This will likely attract curious soccer fans worldwide to sign up for MLS Season Pass and watch his performances.
If Messi can lead Inter Miami to success and continue creating memorable MLS moments, the appeal of seeing an all-time great cement his legacy in America will further boost interest and subscriptions.
PHOTO: IMAGO & ZUMA Wire
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