According to Sports Business Journal, Major League Soccer (MLS) has sold all of its global media rights exclusively to Apple, becoming the first major U.S. sports league to go all-in with a digital media company.
- Connecting this back to The Walt Disney Company, MLS is still negotiating with linear TV networks, including ESPN and Fox, to broadcast select matches. However, those games would not be exclusive to the broadcasters; they would simulcast with Apple.
- From early 2023 through 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app.
- That will include games that previously were part of national TV packages on ESPN, Fox and Univision and those that aired locally under individual club deals.
- MLS execs said that Apple is not paying a straight rights fee for the package of rights. Rather, Apple is paying a minimum guarantee that sources say is worth $250M per year starting in ‘23. MLS will start to bring in more revenue as Apple sells subscriptions for a newly launched MLS subscription offering.
- For more information on the new Apple/MLS streaming deal, check out the SBJ article.
What They’re Saying:
- Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services said: “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. 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 anytime 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 favorite club.”
- Don Garber, MLS’s commissioner said: “Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between our clubs and their fans. 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.”