After the debut of Friday Night Baseball, Apple is pushing further into live sports streaming. Starting in 2023, Apple TV will be the only place to watch every Major League Soccer game for the next decade. Soccer fans around the world will be able to stream all of the league’s matches through the Apple TV app. Notably, there won’t be any restrictions or regional blackouts.
The 10-year deal also covers Leagues Cup games (though viewers in Mexico will have to watch those and Campeones Cup matches elsewhere), along with select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT games. ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision currently hold the rights to MLS games, though their deals will expire after the current season.
Fans will need to subscribe to a new MLS streaming service, which will only be available through the Apple TV app, to watch every game. Access will be included as part of MLS full-season ticket packages. Apple also says TV+ subscribers will have access to a “broad selection” of MLS and Leagues Cup matches at no extra cost. Some games will be available for free.
Along with live games, the MLS streaming service will feature replays, highlights, analysis and a weekly whip-around show that will include goals and other key moments. There will be original programming as well. All MLS and Leagues Cup matches will have English and Spanish announcers, and games with Canadian teams will have French announcers too.
Fans will be able to follow news about MLS and their favorite teams in Apple News, and highlights will be featured there too. Along with the Apple TV app, which is available on a variety of platforms and devices, you’ll be able watch games on the streaming service’s website. More details, including pricing, will be revealed in the coming months.
“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,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, said in a statement. “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.”
The company will reportedly pay MLS at least $250 million per year under the pact. After the minimum guarantee is met through subscriptions, MLS will receive extra revenue. Some games may air on linear TV networks as well, according to Sports Business Journal, though those matches will still be available on the Apple/MLS service.
Apple’s push into sports may not end with baseball and soccer. The company has also long been rumored as a potential partner for the NFL.