Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) have agreed a broadcasting partnership that will see all MLS matches streamed around the world for 10 years, starting in 2023.
In a historic first for sports fans, all matches will be available to watch through the Apple TV app, without any local blackouts or restrictions.
What will the new partnership offer fans?
The partnership between Apple and MLS is the first of its kind for a major sports league. From next season, fans around the world will be able to watch all MLS, Leagues Cup and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app.
Many of the games will be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers, and a limited number of games will also be available for free. As an added benefit to fans, access to the new MLS streaming service will be included as part of MLS full-season ticket packages.
At launch, all MLS and Leagues Cup matches will include announcers calling the action in English and Spanish, and all matches involving Canadian teams will be available in French.
In addition to match content, the service will provide fans a new weekly live match whip-around show. Game replays, highlights, analysis and other original programming will also be available.
Apple’s partnership with the MLS – the view from Spike
At present, MLS is the fastest-growing football league in the world. In the last 15 years, the league has doubled in size. In the coming years, it’s expected that the standing of football (or soccer) in North America will continue to grow. This is because the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in the US, Canada and Mexico.
Apple’s strategic partnership with the MLS is incredibly interesting. Given football’s current rate of the growth in North America and the possibility for further expansion and market penetration in the coming years, the partnership could prove to be a stroke of strategic genius.
Plus, Apple’s commitment to live sport also shows us that it’s taking its streaming platform incredibly seriously. Given the recent turmoil surrounding Netflix’s earnings, it will be interesting to see whether Apple’s pivot to live sports proves more beneficial than Netflix’s investments in original programming.Read More