Cupertino unveiled a major new sports deal Tuesday, saying Apple TV will be the exclusive streaming destination for all Major League Soccer (MLS) games for 10 years, starting with the 2023 season.
Unlike Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+, watching many soccer games will require a separate subscription to an MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app. But some of the biggest matches will air on Apple TV+, as well.
Apple TV and MLS: All the soccer games. No local blackouts. Yes, please.
Apple described the deal as a “historic first” for a major professional sports league, with access provided to all MLS and Leagues Cup games. A selection of MLS NEXT matches are part of the deal, too.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
No blackouts, some games on Apple TV+
One of the most significant factors here is that the streaming service will set no local blackout restrictions. All games broadcast on linear TV will stream live on Apple’s MLS subscription service. Apple secured the rights for 10 years, lasting until 2032.
Full access to every single game will require a separate subscription, but some MLS and Leagues Cup games will stream for free with an Apple TV+ subscription, the company said.
Announcers will call all games in English and Spanish. Matches with Canada-based teams will also get the call in French.
And Apple plans to bundle access to the streaming service with MLS full-season ticket packages.
So the upshot here is that all MLS viewing will take place via the Apple TV app, which is available on Apple devices and many third-party devices. Those include Amazon Fire TV and Roku sticks. A basic website experience will be available at tv.apple.com.
Alongside the streaming live games, Apple will feature a new weekly roundup show and host game replays and highlights, among other original programming.
Apple said it will release full details about the service, including pricing, the 2023 games schedule and how fans can enjoy MLS across the Apple ecosystem, in the next few months.
Big for MLS, the world’s fastest growing soccer league
Soccer fandom is on the rise in U.S., which has long trailed most of the rest of world when it comes to mania for what is known internationally as football, “the beautiful game.”
“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.”
MLS is the fastest-growing soccer league in the world, more than doubling in size to 29 clubs over the last 15 years, Apple noted. The momentum will continue as soccer will grow throughout North America on the road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup hosted by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
This marks Cupertino’s second big push into live sports content. It follows Friday Night Baseball‘s launch earlier this year. Rumors have said Apple has also secured NFL Sunday Ticket rights, along with a new NFL Plus streaming service, but that deal is not yet officially confirmed.