TV Answer Man, I heard that DIRECTV got the MLS Season Pass package. Does that mean it will be available to everyone including average subscribers like me or is it just for bars? — Bob, Boulder, Colorado. 

Bob, Apple last year signed a 10-year agreement with MLS that will make Apple TV+ the exclusive carrier of every live league match starting with the 2023 season, which begins next week on February 25.  Apple’s MLS Season Pass package will also include the entire playoffs and the Leagues Cup between MLS clubs and Mexico’s Liga MX. And there will be no blackouts.

DIRECTV announced yesterday that it has secured the rights from Apple to provide the package to more than 300,000 restaurants, bars, hotel lounges, retail shops and other venues during the 2023 season. This is similar to the satcaster’s arrangement with Amazon to provide its Thursday Night Football games to commercial venues during the 2022 season.

Both Amazon and Apple obviously believe that many bars and restaurants are not equipped to stream multiple live sporting games and DIRECTV’s well-established commercial business is best suited to do the job. DIRECTV has provided the NFL Sunday Ticket to commercial establishments for years. (The company may be seeking to continue to provide the Ticket to bars and restaurants through a new agreement with the NFL.)

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“DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS boasts an unrivaled nationwide network of more than 300,000 venues where local sports fans gather who count upon us to deliver the very best in live action,” said Rob Thun, DIRECTV’s chief content officer. “We welcome the addition of MLS Season Pass to an already market-leading lineup of sports properties that our commercial customers can continue to receive seamlessly through their existing satellite equipment and offer to their patrons.”

When the season begins next week, MLS fans can find a bar or restaurant that has the games by downloading the DIRECTV Sports Bar Finder app, available on app stores and online. The MLS games will be on DIRECTV For Business’ channels 9475-9490.

Now to your question, this partnership is only for DIRECTV For Business, not the satellite TV service’s residential customers. Apple is retaining its exclusive over that audience.

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Bob, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann