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MLS Season Pass deal a success with nearly a million subscribers

MLS Season Pass

Major League Soccer and Apple are pleased with the Season Pass deal, with MLS executives praising Apple's high-quality production and full integration into the Apple ecosystem.

In 2022, Apple became the official destination for all matches and other content relating to Major League Soccer (MLS) as part of a 10-year deal starting in 2023.

Now, five months into the first season, MLS and Apple are reportedly feeling quite pleased with the deal so far.

While it's impossible to know the exact number of MLS Season Pass subscribers, sources familiar with the matter told Sports Business Journal that the number is likely approaching a million.

Eddy Cue reportedly told MLS owners and Executives that signing good players would ensure that the deal was a success. After they signed Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi, Cue told MLS officials, "Boy, did you deliver."

"It's still early in the relationship, but so far, we couldn't be more thrilled," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said of the deal.

And the deal doesn't stop with broadcasting rights, either. As it turns out, the MLS is already seeing benefits as Apple offers MLS-inspired playlists as part of Apple Music. Even Apple Maps highlights MLS stadiums and restaurants.

"It's truly a partnership," Garber said. "It's not a rights deal where it's just about 'we have these available windows, we'll pay you to put your product on in those available windows, we'll promote them to our audiences.' It's more about how can we be integrated within the entire Apple ecosystem and create a global offering for fans in a very easy and an accessible way."

Deputy commissioner and managing director of MLS business ventures, Gary Stevenson, has praised Apple for its high-quality production of matches. When fans asked for the ability to watch concurrent games simultaneously, Apple delivered.

"We heard from fans that they wanted multicast," Stevenson said. "We had it up and running in a month."

While the deal seems to be working out, it isn't without flaws. Team executives have privately expressed concerns over the deal and how it could negatively affect sponsors.

For example, large subscribers like Adidas could benefit from subscribers worldwide. However, local sponsors wouldn't see much benefit for subscribers added outside their region.

Additionally, the team executives have also expressed frustrations over not being able to see who is watching their games. Previously, teams had much more robust viewership statistics, the quarter-hour for local and national games.

The MLS Season Pass is available for $14.99 per month or $99 per season. Apple TV+ subscribers get a slight discount at $12.99 per month or $79 for the season. Season Ticket Holders will get one free access pass to the MLS Season Pass.