Los Angeles (USA) (EFE).- 250 million dollars a year. Global streaming rights for each and every game for a decade. Commentators in English and Spanish. This is MLS Season Pass, the ambitious and innovative recipe with which Apple wants to take the world of soccer by storm.
In his landing on television, Apple dazzled with the football comedy “Ted Lasso” about an unconventional coach with a huge heart played by Jason Sudeikis. The apple giant signed a great goal with that delicious series, but now he is looking for the most difficult yet: succeeding in football broadcasts.
This Saturday, February 25, the new MLS season begins and it will also broadcast its first MLS Season Pass matches, the streaming offer that Apple has devised for its powerful agreement with the US and Canadian soccer league.
Announced in June of last year, Apple and the MLS signed an agreement so that the company founded by Steve Jobs can broadcast the matches of this league throughout the planet for 10 years without regional or national restrictions and without the hassle of rights by territories.
Apple will spend 250 million dollars a year
According to the specialized portal Sport Business Journal, Apple will spend at least 250 million dollars a year as part of this deal with the MLS.
“MLS Season Pass is something unique: nothing like this has ever been done in any professional league,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of services, in a meeting with the media last January in San José (California, USA). .
“We will have all the games without ‘blackouts’ (restrictions) and they can be seen all over the world,” Cue explained, defending that, both for Apple and for MLS, “the long-term opportunities are enormous.”
With a succulent starter thanks to the Los Angeles derby between Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández’s LA Galaxy and Carlos Vela’s Los Angeles FC (LAFC), the MLS season will begin this Saturday and the fans, after several weeks of MLS Season Pass in test mode with archive content, you will be able to see how Apple imagines the present and the future of football.
How much does it cost?
The price of this service? $14.99/month or $99 for the entire season (existing Apple TV+ subscribers will pay $12.99/month and $79 for the entire year).
For reference, a basic Netflix account without ads costs $9.99 in the US.
For Don Garber, MLS commissioner, there wasn’t much to think about when the opportunity arose to partner with “the most forward-thinking and innovative company in history.”
“We couldn’t be more excited, the best is yet to come,” he said.
With the commitment that all matches have commentators in English and Spanish (in addition to French for matches with Canadian teams), Apple has recruited almost a hundred analysts and experts to x-ray a league that grows year after year, that sighs for the hypothetical landing of Leo Messi in the future and who is living some crucial years with the 2026 World Cup on the horizon.
Among those commentators who have signed up for this adventure is former soccer player Taylor Twellman, who thus summed up the importance of Apple’s entry into MLS and soccer: “When Apple says yes, everyone says yes.”
“Apple asks itself a question with any of its projects: ‘how can we improve the consumer experience?’ The MLS fan for 26 years has been kind of apologizing for being an MLS fan but they don’t have to say sorry anymore. That was what convinced me, ”he argued.
MLS Season Pass will include all the regular season matches, the MLS Cup playoffs and also the Leagues Cup, a new official competition in which all MLS and Liga MX clubs will compete.
In addition, each team will have their own page in MLS Season Pass where they can post personalized content designed specifically for their fans.
Traditional television will be able to broadcast some MLS soccer matches
The irruption of MLS Season Pass, however, will coexist in part with traditional television, which will be able to broadcast some MLS matches following the usual rules of rights by markets, restrictions and ‘blackouts’ outside of them, only a few specific matches per day, etc.
Specifically, MLS has signed four-year agreements with FOX Sports and TelevisaUnivision in the US and with TSN & RDS in Canada.
In any case, this movement by Apple in ‘streaming’ marks a new milestone in its penetration into audiovisual entertainment, although it had already taken some important steps related to sports.
Thus, the Cupertino-based multinational began last year to broadcast MLB baseball once a week with its “Friday Night Baseball” proposal.
In addition, Apple Music became the official sponsor of the Super Bowl intermission show in 2022, taking over from Pepsi.
The specialized publication Sport Business Journal maintained that this agreement with the NFL, which began with Rihanna’s performance at the Philadelphia Eagles-Kansas City Chiefs a couple of weeks ago, is for five years and 50 million dollars annually.