Apple TV+ Subscribers Now Get MLS 360 for Free

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Last month Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) launched MLS Season Pass, a standalone streaming package that provides subscribers with full access to all MLS games without any restrictions or blackouts.

While Apple TV+ subscribers get a small $2/month discount, MLS Season Pass is distinct from Apple’s primary streaming service, costing $14.99/month or $99 for the whole season. However, Apple has made some non-game content available to standard Apple TV+ subscribers.

In what’s likely an attempt to encourage folks to sign up for the full MLS experience, MLS 360, the service’s live whip-around show, will now be available to anybody with a standard Apple TV+ subscription.

MLS 360 goes live on match days to offer up pregame coverage and live look-ins from every match that highlight key moments, including every goal, penalty kick, and big save, followed by a post-game wrap-up of the day’s events.

While Apple and MLS likely hope this will translate into more Season Pass subscriptions, it’s also a nice bonus for more casual MLS fans who may not be willing to invest the time or money to follow full games but still want to keep tabs on what’s going on amongst their favourite clubs.

About MLS Season Pass

Apple signed an exclusive 10-year deal with MLS last spring to become “the exclusive destination to watch every single live MLS match,” paying a whopping $2.5 billion for the privilege. That’s at the top of the list for Apple’s largest deals, rivalled only by its $3 billion acquisition of Beats in 2014.

The deal came to fruition last month, with the league announcing that MLS Season Pass would go live starting February 25, as the “home to all MLS and Leagues Cup matches,” plus “hundreds of MLS NEXT Pro and MLS Next games.”

The new service is an ambitious undertaking for Apple. The company dipped its toes into sports streaming with its MLB Friday Night Baseball deal, but that was only a small part of the entire MLB franchise. With the MLS deal, Apple is running the whole shebang, and it’s going big on this one.

For instance, the MLS Season Pass is upping the game for production quality, with more camera angles, full 1080p HD video, Dolby 5.1 audio, and enhanced data and graphics in live match coverage. There will also be more featured coverage of MLS clubs with “a vibrant new graphics package” that will enhance storylines, stats, and other data to bring the clubs to the forefront.

Coverage will be provided in both English and Spanish, plus French for matches that involve Canadian clubs. The group of more than 80 announcers represents 21 countries and has experience covering countless Premier League and other matches, including over 75 World Cups and 30 Olympic games. It’s an impressive roster and should prove more appealing to fans than the announcers Apple chose for MLB Friday Night Baseball, which drew criticism from some fans.

Apple’s MLS Season Pass deal is expected to run through 2032. The package is already available in over 100 countries, and as with other Apple services, a single $99/season pass ($79 for Apple TV+ subscribers) can be shared with up to six family members.

Apple and MLS Working on a ‘Drive to Survive’ Style Documentary

In related news, MLS reportedly has a deal in the works with a British production house for work on producing content and possibly a documentary about the league.

According to The Athletic, the deal has been confirmed by MLS deputy commissioner Gary Stevenson and is still in the early stages. However, the studio involved, Box to Box Films, is already well known for producing Netflix’s Drive to Survive, a popular sports documentary series on the ins and outs of the world of Formula 1 racing.

More recently, Box to Box has also produced Full Swing, a documentary that follows golf’s PGA Tour, and Break Point covering professional tennis’ ATP and WTA tours. Part of the new deal would likely result in a similar documentary about MLS, although details are not yet finalized.

However, as MLS commissioner Don Garber told The Athletic , the Box to Box deal is only a small part of the plan, and it’s ultimately the clubs that are the driving force being MLS Season Pass, and Apple is providing them with an unprecedented platform to show off their mettle.

Every team has the opportunity to do their own ‘Drive to Survive’ and have the largest technology and most innovative consumer-facing company in the world provide the platform for that.Don Garber, MLS Commissioner

Garber notes that in addition to the matches, the clubs will be providing some amount of content “because that’s the MLS thing.” Many have already produced their own serialized content, often released on YouTube. These will naturally also become part of the Apple/MLS offering. Garber believes the best clubs will create “very innovative, exciting globally interesting content,” ultimately driving more subscribers to MLS Season Pass.

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