Is This the Future of Sport on TV?

From next year soccer fans around the world will be able to stream Major League Soccer matches on Apple TV+.

Today’s announcement follows Paramount Global outbidding Disney’s Star India to broadcast India’s cricket league online in partnership with Viacom 18.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The agreement makes MLS the most significant American sports league to move all of its games to a streaming service, rather than the bulk of games appearing on cable or broadcast TV …

“The deal encompasses global broadcast rights, an unusual step. Sports leagues typically sell the broadcast or streaming rights to their games by country or region.”

Here’s the Apple+ media release:

Apple and Major League Soccer to present all MLS matches around the world for 10 years, beginning in 2023

In a historic first for sports, fans can stream every single MLS match through the Apple TV app, without any local blackouts or restrictions.

Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced that the Apple TV app will be the exclusive destination to watch every single live MLS match beginning in 2023.

This partnership is a historic first for a major professional sports league and will allow fans around the world to watch all MLS, Leagues Cup*, and selected MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches in one place — without any local broadcast blackouts or the need for a traditional pay TV bundle.

From early 2023 through to 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app.

In addition to all of the match content, the service will provide fans a new weekly live match whip-around show so they never miss an exciting goal or save, and also game replays, highlights, analysis and other original programming.

This live and on-demand MLS content will provide in-depth, behind-the-scenes views of the players and clubs that fans love.

A broad selection of MLS and Leagues Cup matches, including some of the biggest match-ups, will also be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers, with a limited number of matches available for free.

As an added benefit to fans, access to the new MLS streaming service will be included as part of MLS full-season ticket packages.

The MLS live and on-demand content on the Apple TV app will be available to anyone with internet access across all devices where the app can be found, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, TCL and other smart TVs; Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices; PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles; and Chromecast with Google TV. Fans can also watch on tv.apple.com/nz.

“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,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services.

“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 any time 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 favourite club.”

“Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between our clubs and their fans,” said Don Garber, MLS’s commissioner. “Given Apple’s ability to create a best-in-class user experience and to reach fans everywhere, it’ll be incredibly easy to enjoy MLS matches anywhere, whether you’re a super fan or casual viewer.”

At launch, all MLS and Leagues Cup matches will include announcers calling the action in English and Spanish, and all matches involving Canadian teams will be available in French.

Complete details for the new service, including when fans can sign up, subscription pricing, specific details about the new MLS programming, an improved match schedule, broadcast teams, production enhancements, and pre- and post-game coverage — as well as all the ways fans will be able to enjoy MLS content across the Apple ecosystem — will be announced in the coming months.

Major League Soccer is the fastest growing soccer league in the world, more than doubling in size to 29 clubs over the last 15 years.

The momentum will continue as soccer will grow throughout North America on the road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico. With players representing 82 countries, MLS has the most global player pool in all sports, and its fan base is one of the youngest, most diverse audiences in North American sports.

*This excludes Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup for viewers in Mexico.

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2 Responses to “Is This the Future of Sport on TV?”


  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/screenscribe.net/public_html/wp-content/themes/headlines/includes/theme-comments.php on line 66
    June 15, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    Is this bad news for Spark or Sky? I have a feeling Warner Bros. Discovery will be after sports as well for their streaming service. I think the days are numbered for Sky sports 🤔

  2. Unlike NFL with its Gamepass, MLB with MLB.TV or NBA with NBA TV – MLS is so fringe that it cant afford to go DTC. ESPN/ABC started it, Fox tried to carry it on a separate channel and then NBC/Fox have split the local market. I can’t see it growing an audience but it’s a cheap way for Apple to understand the complexity and economics of sport. BTW, NHL had DTC and broadcast separate but abandoned it to ESPN in a 7 yr deal- wonder why?

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