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Apple scores decade-long major league soccer deal

Apple-Major-League-Soccer-MLS-Games-thefutureparty
Apple soccer // Illustration by Kate Walker

Apple scores decade-long major league soccer deal

 

The Future. Apple has wrapped up a deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) to broadcast its games for the next ten years. It marks the first time a major sports league has given exclusive rights to any platform… let alone a streaming service. With streamers jockeying aggressively to make sports deals to attract new subscribers, expect the Apple-MLS one to be a blueprint for negotiations moving forward.

Global play
After dipping its toes in live sports with a deal for the MLB’s Friday Night Baseball, Apple has inked a much larger one in the world of soccer.

  • THR reports that Apple will exclusively broadcast all MLS games globally for the next ten years, starting in 2023.
  • All the games will stream on Apple TV+, with some available for free.
  • Highlight packages will also be available on the Apple News app.
  • Reports say the deal will cost Apple $250 million per year.

All of the games will stream in both English and Spanish, with Canadian games also available in French.

Streaming World Cup
The deal is a big win for Apple TV+. Not only is the tech giant getting exclusive rights to one of the fastest-growing leagues in all sports, but it’s also securing one of the streaming war’s biggest gets. In general, locking up sports rights is becoming a go-to move to win subscribers, with Amazon (football), Peacock (the Olympics), Disney (cricket in India), and Paramount+ (basketball and golf) each throwing their hat into the ring.

But Apple may have changed the game — the MLS deal represents the first time that any major league has signed over all broadcast rights to a single platform. However, MLS commissioner Don Garber said that MLS might be able to simulcast games to linear broadcast networks during the first couple of years. Call it a slow fade to streaming.

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