Apple has announced that it has signed a 10-year agreement with Major League Soccer that will make the Apple TV app the carrier of every live MLS match starting with the 2023 season.
The tech giant didn’t reveal how much the games will cost consumers but said they will be available without any local broadcast blackouts. The Athletic reports that Apple paid $2.5 billion for the rights.
With the MLS deal, Apple now has the broadcast rights for two major sports and multiple news reports say it’s seeking to carry the NFL Sunday Ticket after DIRECTV’s current pact with the league expires following the 2022 season. (Apple earlier this year began streaming an exclusive Friday night doubleheader of MLB games as part of a new agreement with the league.)
“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,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of service, said in a statement yesterday. 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.”
Apple said that fans will be able to access every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service; a subscription to the Apple TV+ service will not be required. In addition to live game streams, the new MLS service will include a new weekly live match whip-around show, game replays, highlights, analysis, and other original programming.
While Apple will carry all MLS games, traditional channels such as ESPN, Univision or Fox could continue to carry some of those games as well. The league says it’s still negotiating those rights.
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— Phillip Swann