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MEDIA

MLS Enters the Apple TV Era With Blockbuster Media Rights Deal

Apple claims Major League Soccer’s media rights for a reported $2.5 billion minimum over 10 years as part of an ambitious deal that begins in 2023.

On Tuesday, Apple TV won the race for the next decade of Major League Soccer broadcast rights. The streaming platform’s 10-year deal with MLS kicks in starting in 2023 and includes live coverage of every MLS regular season and postseason match, as well as full coverage of the CONCACAF Leagues Cup.

Additionally, certain MLS NEXT and MLS NEXT Pro matches will be included as part of the package.

As John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports, the price tag is a minimum of $2.5 billion, or $250 million per year. By comparison, the league’s current media rights package cost $90 million per year — that’s an increase of 177.78%.

“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 on the occasion. “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.”

Some observers have noted that a traditional broadcast or cable network may still acquire rights to certain packages of games, but that Apple TV is officially locked in as the only platform with every live game all season long for the decade to come. As things stand, current Apple TV+ subscribers will have access to a wide range of MLS and Leagues Cup games, while a full package including 100% live games will be made available through a separate subscription on the Apple TV platform.

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Live games and additional on-demand programming — with no local blackout and restrictions, it must be noted — will be available on all platforms with access to Apple TV, including:

  • iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac devices
  • Smart TVs including Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, VIZIO
  • Streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast
  • Gaming consoles including PlayStation and Xbox

Added Eddy Cue, Apple Senior VP of Services:

“For the first time in the history of sports, fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place. It’s a dream come true for MLS fans, soccer fans, and anyone who loves sports. No fragmentation, no frustration — just the flexibility to sign up for one convenient service that gives you everything MLS, anywhere and anytime you want to watch. We can’t wait to make it easy for even more people to fall in love with MLS and root for their favorite club.”

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