Apple, MLS set to launch streaming service on February 1

Apple and Major League Soccer revealed Wednesday the forthcoming MLS streaming service will launch on February 1 – just a few weeks before the 2023 season is scheduled to kick off.

The service, dubbed MLS Season Pass, will be exclusively available via the Apple TV app and cover every live MLS regular-season match, the entire playoffs season, as well as the Leagues Cup.

Come February, consumers using Apple TV can subscribe to MLS Season Pass for $14.99 per month or $99 for the entire season. Those that subscribe to Apple TV+ can get a discounted sign-up offer at $12.99 per month or $79 per season. Full-season ticket holders with MLS soccer clubs will be able to subscribe to MLS Season Pass at no additional cost.

As previously announced, viewers can tune into select matches for free on the Apple TV app. All matches taking place during the league’s “MLS is Back” opening weekend – beginning February 25 – will be free to watch.

Apple is also considering running ads on MLS Season Pass, Apple TV+ and on the free sports package tier, according to a Bloomberg report from earlier this month.

“There isn’t a more perfect time to introduce MLS Season Pass, coming off the heels of the most dramatic MLS Cup in history and with MLS as the fastest-growing soccer league in the world,” stated Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of services. “We’re counting down the days to February 2023 when fans everywhere can enjoy MLS Season Pass on billions of devices — all with no blackouts.”

Apple struck a 10-year streaming deal with MLS back in June. The companies did not disclose financial terms, but The Wall Street Journal suggested the agreement is worth at least $250 million annually.

Emphasizing the companies’ partnership, all 29 MLS clubs will wear jerseys with an Apple TV patch. Each club will share their jersey design in the weeks leading up to the start of the 2023 regular season.

MLS’ complete 2023 schedule will be announced sometime next month, Apple said. Most matches will take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with pregame coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET and matches starting at 7:30 p.m. local time.

Viewers can watch the games in English and Spanish, and French audio is available for matches involving Canadian teams.

Though MLS plans to kick off the season on February 25, an October report from The Athletic suggested the league is running a few months behind trying to set up live streaming logistics, such as streaming all matches in 1080p.

In other sports streaming news, Apple is said to be the frontrunner for NFL Sunday Ticket rights, but media reports indicated the tech giant is trying to negotiate with the NFL to get a broader coverage deal than the league’s existing arrangement with DirecTV, which is set to expire next year.