Starting next year, Apple TV will be the place to watch every Major League Soccer (MLS) match live. MLS fans around the world will soon only have to tune into one stream free from local service outages and expensive cable bundles to watch matches with commentary as they happen.
Apple announced today (opens in new tab) that it’s creating, with the MLS, a subscription-based service that will live exclusively on the Apple TV app and will be available in 2023. Along with match content, the streaming service will include a weekly whip-around, highlights, and an analysis show. A “broad selection” of MLS and League Cup matches will be available to stream at no additional cost for Apple TV+ subscribers. The upcoming service will also be included in MLS full-season ticket packages.
Upon the service’s launch, subscribers will be able to watch with English or Spanish commentary, with French commentary available on matches with Canadian or French teams. The service will also provide enhanced behind-the-scenes coverage and other original MLS programming for fans to watch in the app.
The partnership between Apple and MLS will last ten years, from early 2023 to 2032. Additional information including signup dates, pricing, pre- and post-game coverage details, and other features of the service will be announced in the coming months.
How do the fans feel?
Apple has been making some big moves into sports lately. In March, for instance, it announced a Major League Baseball partnership and began its Friday Night Baseball coverage on Apple TV. While its first broadcast left much to be desired, the company is evidently doubling down on sports coverage and hoping to win the favor of fans.
This latest announcement has thus far been met with a fairly mixed reception. The idea of an internet-based service, as opposed to an over-the-air approach, eliminates service blackouts, which is appealing to fans who don’t want to miss a beat. Fans are also interested in what Apple can offer Major League Soccer in the way of growth. Other fans are excited to “cut the cord,” so to speak, as live sports is the only reason that some fans stay tethered to traditional cable packages.
Welcome @AppleTV to @MLS and here’s to growing the league to new levels. No blackouts will do wonders for the league and the amount of apple devices now being directly linked with @MLS will only help the league grow. 👊🏼💪🏼 #MLS https://t.co/m6KZx8ZI41June 14, 2022
While some fans are excited for what’s to come, others are understandably concerned about pricing, ecosystem restrictions, and stacking yet another monthly subscription service on top of others. Concerns about ecosystem restrictions are understandable, but per The Athletic, you should still be able to watch live games on Univision, ESPN, and Fox once they reach agreements with MLS “in the near future.”
Except for every person that doesn't have Apple TV+. Just another subscription they have to pay for. Yay to making it harder for people to watch games.June 14, 2022
All in all, most MLS fans appear to see the deal in a positive light, though that sentiment could change as more service specifics are announced.