Major League Soccer inks groundbreaking broadcast deal with Apple TV worth at least $2.5 billion over the next 10 years
Major League Soccer announced a historic media rights deal with Apple on Tuesday.
MLS will create its own streaming service within Apple TV in a 10-year, $2.5 billion agreement announced yesterday, starting in 2023. For reference, MLS is receiving around $60-$65 million their current deals with ESPN, Fox, and Univision.
Apple will not be the exclusive home for MLS games, as ESPN and others are still negotiating deals to broadcast smaller game packages moving forward. Major League Soccer is set to bring in nearly $300 million per year throughout broadcast deals when everything is finalized.
Again, the MLS will have their own streaming service within the Apple TV framework. You will not have to be subscribed to Apple TV+ to get the MLS streaming service, but if you are a Apple TV+ subscriber, you will still be able to watch select Apple MLS broadcasts throughout the year without paying separately.
Here’s some additional information via The Athletic in regards to local TV and radio broadcasts:
Local broadcasts of MLS matches will no longer continue. Once the current deal kicks in, matches will not air on regional sports networks or other television partners that individual clubs have worked with over the years. Apple TV games will also only be called by one team of commentators. In the current deal, locally broadcast games are called by two sets of commentators, one specific to each team.
The league is planning to hire between 10 and 14 broadcast teams to call those matches. MLS will also hire producers, directors, other talent and more broadcast staff to produce every game. Sources said the league could also build out facilities to facilitate that production, including a studio for the pregame, halftime and post-game shows that will accompany every single match. MLS is planning to air all games in 1080p, which is a step up from the 720p and 1080i of many of its current broadcasts.
Fans who want to listen to a local voice will have the option to mute the Apple TV commentary team and listen to their club’s local radio broadcast in the MLS streaming service.
The future of the MLS is noticeably brighter after the announcement of this new broadcast deal. Bummer for the local broadcasts but all things considered, it looks like we’ll still be able to tune into local radio broadcasts of the Philadelphia Union on Fox Sports Radio the Gambler, which is what I tend to do anyways.