Apple will offer streams of every Major League Soccer (MLS) match from early 2023 through 2032 in the Apple TV app, the two organizations announced in a major deal revealed Tuesday. While some games may still air on linear TV networks like ESPN and Fox, this gives Apple the global exclusive on an NFL Sunday Ticket-style offering for the league.
To watch the matches, fans will be able to subscribe to a new, currently unnamed MLS streaming service that will be available “exclusively through the Apple TV app,” according to Apple’s press release. A “broad selection” of MLS and Leagues Cup matches will be available to Apple TV Plus subscribers, “with a limited number of matches available for free.” If you’re a full-season ticket holder, you’ll get access to the new streaming service as well. Unlike many sports streaming deals, there will be no local blackouts or restrictions.
Apple and the MLS haven’t detailed when you can sign up for the service or how much it might cost but say that information will be announced in “the coming months.” Apple is paying a minimum of $250 million per year to the MLS for the games starting in 2023, Sports Business Journal reports.
The MLS partnership is a massive step up from Apple’s relatively small offering of Major League Baseball games on Fridays and seems to indicate that live sports could be a priority for its future services plans. Apple is rumored to be vying for the actual NFL Sunday Ticket at the same time rumors have linked Netflix to a bid for the rights on Formula 1. Other streamers with live sports deals (beyond Disney / ESPN Plus) include Amazon and the NFL, HBO Max with the NHL and soccer, and Peacock’s various soccer offerings.