Major League Soccer announced a groundbreaking partnership with tech giant Apple on Tuesday. The partnership between MLS and Apple will create a new MLS streaming service that will broadcast every MLS and Leagues Cup match in English, Spanish and French. Portuguese broadcasts will begin in 2025.
The newly agreed 10-year deal will begin at the start of the 2023 season and will run through 2032. On top of streaming MLS, Leagues Cup, MLS NEXT Pro, and MLS NEXT matches, there will also be a weekly whip-around broadcast to highlight exciting goals and saves across the league, game replays, highlights, and analysis. Additionally, the streaming service will also include “original programming”.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Services, commented on the historic deal by saying, “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 club.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said that “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 increasingly easy to enjoy MLS matches anywhere…”
In a statement, Apple said, “The MLS live and on-demand content on the Apple TV app will be available to anyone with internet access across all devices where the app can be found.”. Fans can use Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPlayf, streaming devices, smart TVs, gaming consoles, cable and satellite receivers, and the web to access the streaming service.
Details on the sign-up process, subscription pricing, original MLS programming, match schedules, broadcast teams, production enhancements, and more will become available in the coming months.
Apple TV + subscribers will get “a broad selection of MLS and Leagues Cup matches, including some of the biggest matches, at no additional cost”. There will also be a “limited number of matches available for free.” Season ticket holders across the league will have access to the streaming service as it will be a part of MLS full-season ticket packages.
Not only will this deal impact how fans view the game, it will also affect the scheduling of games. Tweets from SoccerAmerica editor Paul Kennedy and Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson confirm that Major League Soccer games will be played on Wednesday and Saturday schedule.
While today’s announcement brought a lot of promise and excitement for the future of Major League Soccer, there appear to be some downsides to the deal. The biggest being the end of local broadcasting of games. Fans will still have an option as streams will come with the option to choose the audio feed that they hear. This means that if the New England Revolution were to keep the current radio broadcast team of Brad Feldman and Charlie Davies, fans could still hear the familiar voices.