Starting next year, Apple TV will be the place to watch all Major League Soccer (MLS) games live. MLS fans around the world will soon only have to tune in to a stream free of local service interruptions and expensive cable bundles to watch matches with commentary as they unfold.
Litter announced today (opens in new tab) which is creating, with MLS, a subscription-based service that will be available exclusively on the Apple TV app and will be available in 2023. Along with match content, the streaming service will include a weekly update, highlights and an analysis show. A “wide selection” of MLS and League Cup matches will be available to stream at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers. The upcoming service will also be included in MLS full season ticket packages.
After the service launches, subscribers will be able to watch with commentary in English or Spanish, with commentary in French available in 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 on the app.
The partnership between Apple and MLS will run for ten years, from early 2023 to 2032. Additional information, including sign-up dates, pricing, pre- and post-game coverage details, and other service features, will be announced in the coming months.
How do fans feel?
Apple has been making some big moves in sports lately. In March, for example, it announced a partnership with Major League Baseball and began its Friday Night Baseball coverage on Apple TV. While its first broadcast left a lot to be desired, the company is evidently doubling down on sports coverage and hoping to win the favor of fans.
This latest announcement has so far been met with a rather 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 thing. Fans are also interested in what Apple can offer in Major League Soccer in terms of growth. Other fans are excited to “cut the cord”, so to speak, as live sports are the only reason some fans are stuck with traditional cable TV packages.
Welcome @AppleTV to @MLS and here’s the league’s growth to new levels. No blackout will do wonders for the league and the amount of Apple devices now directly connected to @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 piling one more monthly subscription service on top of others. Concerns about ecosystem constraints are understandable, but why Atleticoyou’ll still be able to watch games live on Univision, ESPN and Fox once they reach MLS agreements “in the near future.”
Except for everyone who doesn’t have Apple TV+. Just another subscription they have to pay. Yay to make it harder for people to watch the games.June 14, 2022
All in all, most MLS fans seem to view the deal in a positive light, although that sentiment could change as more details of the service are announced.