Apple is continuing its rapid push into live sports coverage by agreeing to host a new streaming service broadcasting the United States’ Major League Soccer professional football league.
Following the acquisition of some Major League Baseball games, which began airing in April 2022, Apple is expanding into the beautiful game from next season.
However, the MLS coverage won’t be part of a standard Apple TV Plus subscription. Instead, it’ll arrive via a new MLS steaming service that’ll be hosted exclusively within the Apple TV app.
Apple says this is an historic agreement because every single MLS game will be available through Apple TV, minus the local blackouts or restrictions that are common issues for sports fans looking to watch their team in the US.
The terms of the deal have not been announced by Apple or the MLS, but it seems likely MLS has agreed a sweetener with Apple to exclusively host the MLS streaming service app. The deal announced today will last for ten years.
What’s also unclear is how much the MLS streaming service will cost within the Apple TV app itself. As we said, it’s not part of the Apple TV Plus bundle, but today’s press release does say there’ll be some free games for subscribers. Full details including sign-up dates, subscription pricing and details of surrounding programming will be announced in the months to come.
“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,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services in a press release. “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 favourite club.”
“Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between our clubs and their fans,” said Don Garber, MLS’s commissioner. “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.”
Recent rumours have also suggested Apple has been in the market for NFL rights in the US.
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