Apple Scores 10-Year Deal for Major League Soccer Matches
New MLS streaming service to be available exclusively through the Apple TV app
Jumping further into the TV sports market, Apple said it reached a 10-year deal to stream Major League Soccer matches.
All MLS matches will be available on a new subscription service that will be exclusively available via the Apple TV app.
Subscribers will be able to watch MLS games — plus some MLS Next matches —without local broadcast blackouts or subscribing to a pay TV bundle. Sports are seen as a major reason why people continue to subscribe to cable and satellite amid a wave of cord-cutting.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but published reports pegged its value at $2.5 billion.
“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 VP of services. “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.”
The live and on-demand MLS content on the Apple TV app will be available across devices including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV 4K, and Apple TV HD; Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, TCL, Vizio, and other smart TVs; Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices; PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles; Chromecast with Google TV; and Comcast Xfinity. Fans can also watch on tv.apple.com.
“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.”
Apple has dived into sports with a Friday night Major League Baseball doubleheader package on Apple TV Plus.
The company is also reportedly in the bidding for the National Football League’s NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market service. ■
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.