Image Source: Sportico
Major League Soccer announced a 10-year media rights deal with Apple on Tuesday, backed by the belief that its fan base is younger, more global, and more technologically savvy than that of more traditional pro sports leagues. The deal will be anchored by a single digital hub for all MLS, Leagues Cup, and MLS Next Pro matches.
In what has been dubbed a “historic” day for the league, Major League Soccer (MLS) signed a 10-year contract with Apple to webcast every US top-flight men’s game internationally.
Starting from 2023, fans will be able to watch every MLS, Leagues Cup, MLS NEXT Pro, and MLS NEXT match via the men’s professional soccer league’s streaming network, which will be accessible via Apple TV.
When CNN inquired about the deal’s value, neither the MLS nor Apple, the technological behemoth, responded. According to a statement announcing the partnership, Apple TV members will be able to see a limited number of the matches for free, while MLS season ticket holders will have free access to the league’s streaming service.
MLS caters to an international audience by producing all matches in English and Spanish. Games involving Canadian teams will be available to watch with French commentary. According to the statement, plans are also in the works to provide full coverage in Portuguese.
The new service will alter the league’s calendar to provide regularity for fans, with midweek games slated for Wednesday nights and weekend games set for Saturday nights, according to MLS deputy commissioner and president Gary Stevenson.
“Fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place for the first time in sports history,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services, in a statement. “For MLS fans, soccer lovers, and everybody who enjoys sports, it’s a dream come true.”
Here are some of the deal’s highlights:
The MLS will be able to arrange matches at more consistent and predictable times thanks to the dedicated digital platform. According to Garber, the 2022 season will have 60 different start times. In addition, from next season, MLS will play as many games on Saturday nights as feasible, plus a few midweek games on Wednesdays.