Apple Brings Major League Soccer to Apple TV App in Exclusive 10-Year Deal
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After years of struggling to gain traction in live sports broadcasting, Apple now appears to be on a roll. Following the arrival of Major League Baseball on Apple TV+, Apple is now joining forces with Major League Soccer (MLS) in an even bigger deal to bring games exclusively to the Apple TV app.
Apple and MLS announced the partnership today, adding that starting next year, the Apple TV app will be “the exclusive destination to watch every single live MLS match.” This will continue until 2032 in what appears to be a ten-year exclusive arrangement.
Notably, this isn’t an Apple TV+ deal; that is to say, MLS won’t be bundled into Apple’s own video streaming service. Instead, Apple will be providing a new MLS streaming service exclusively via the Apple TV app.
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Apple’s announcement doesn’t spell out precisely how this will work. It sounds like MLS will effectively be offered as an Apple TV Channel, similar to how Paramount+, Starz, Showtime, and other premium content providers are provided through the TV app.
The partnership is described as “a historic first for a major professional sports league,” and it’s well beyond what Apple has managed to accomplish with MLB. While Friday Night Baseball is part of Apple TV+, it’s only a small segment of the much larger MLB franchise.
By contrast, Apple’s partnership with Major League Soccer is for the entire MLS experience. Every live MLS match will be broadcast through the Apple TV app, allowing fans to watch all MLS, Leagues Cup, and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches without local broadcast blackouts.
The service will also naturally provide a plethora of bonus content, including a new weekly live match whip-around show, game replays, highlights, analysis, and other original League-related programming, both live and on-demand.
Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between our clubs and their fans. Given Apple’s ability to create a best-in-class user experience and to reach fans everywhere, it’ll be incredibly easy to enjoy MLS matches anywhere, whether you’re a super fan or casual viewer.Don Garber, MLS commissioner
Apple TV+ subscribers won’t be left entirely out of the game either; Apple says that “a broad selection of MLS and Leagues Cup matches, including some of the biggest matchups, will also be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers, with a limited number of matches available for free.”
Since the MLS streaming service will be delivered through Apple’s TV app, it will be available on all the platforms where the TV app is already available. This naturally encompasses the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV but also includes smart TVs from most major brands, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Chromecast devices, and PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles. It will also be available via any web browser on tv.apple.com.
For the first time in the history of sports, fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place. It’s a dream come true for MLS fans, soccer fans, and anyone who loves sports. No fragmentation, no frustration — just the flexibility to sign up for one convenient service that gives you everything MLS, anywhere and anytime you want to watch. We can’t wait to make it easy for even more people to fall in love with MLS and root for their favorite club.Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services
It’s not clear yet which countries the new MLS streaming service will be available, although Apple notes that all MLS and Leagues Cup matches will include announcers calling the action in English and Spanish. Games involving Canadian teams will also be available in French.
Today’s announcement is just a teaser. Apple says that complete details will be announced “in the coming months,” including subscription pricing and when and how fans can start signing up. Apple and MLS will also offer more details about the new programming, an improved match schedule, broadcast teams, production enhancements, and pre and postgame coverage.