We’ve all been waiting a long time for what the new Major League Soccer broadcast deal would be starting in 2023. Today, the league announced a blockbuster deal with tech giants Apple to begin streaming every single game for the next ten years on their platform.
The Sports Business Journal is reporting that this deal is worth $250 million per year for the league.
Here is the fun spill from the league’s press release:
From early 2023 through 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app. In addition to all of the match content, the service will provide fans a new weekly live match whip-around show so they never miss an exciting goal or save, and also game replays, highlights, analysis, and other original programming. This live and on-demand MLS content will provide in-depth, behind-the-scenes views of the players and clubs that fans love. A broad selection of MLS and Leagues Cup matches, including some of the biggest matchups, will also be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers, with a limited number of matches 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.
“Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between our clubs and their fans,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “Given Apple’s ability to create a best-in-class user experience and to reach fans everywhere, it’ll be incredibly easy to enjoy MLS matches anywhere, whether you’re a super fan or casual viewer.”
So no blackouts. Access for season ticket holders so they don’t have an additional purchase is also a nice touch.
While this will require folks to get an Apple TV+ subscription if they don’t have season tickets, that is still a pretty low barrier in terms of cost compared to say getting an ESPN+ subscription that you need now (Apple cost $4.99 a month, were as ESPN costs $6.99 per month).
There will likely still be national TV games too, but that information will be announced at a later date.
What this means for local FC Dallas broadcasts remains to be seen but it sounds like at the moment, those deals are out the window and are going strictly to this new streaming platform on Apple.
EDIT: Following a press conference, MLS officials said that local deals are pretty much gone but there will be options within the app to select local radio in each match. Clubs will have the ability to produce local pregame shows, halftime shows, etc.
MLS also stated that the majority of the games will be on Wednesday nights and Saturday nights, creating a standard start/stop time for all games.
Games will also be broadcasted at 1080p as opposed to the 720p that it is now.
MLS announced that a limited number of matches will be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers.
What do you all make of this news? Are you excited to see the blackouts go away for good here or are you frustrated that MLS couldn’t strike a balance between local and national TV like they’ve been doing for the last 20-some years?