MLS, Apple TV agree to 10-year broadcast deal worth $2.5 billion

Major League Soccer will have a new broadcast home for at least a decade beginning next year. 

As explained by Reuters (h/t ESPN), MLS and Apple TV announced on Tuesday that the North American top-flight league will be featured on the streaming service from 2023 through 2032. The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal added that the deal is worth $2.5 billion and will, per the MLS website, allow fans to watch every single MLS and Leagues Cup match via Apple TV+ without having to worry about any local blackout restrictions. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean MLS is leaving traditional television. Stejskal also reported that it’s expected both ESPN and Univision will come to separate agreements to televise MLS games, and Fox could also strike its own deal. However, contests on those networks will also be available on Apple TV+.

MLS and Leagues Cup matches will include English and Spanish commentary teams, and games featuring Canadian sides will be available in French. MLS season-ticket holders will receive free access to the league’s new streaming service, and further details, such as subscription pricing, will be announced later this year. 

“For the first time ever, all matches will be available in one place without local broadcast blackouts. In addition to live programming, the service will include replays, highlights, new programming and more expansive coverage than ever before,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a letter to supporters. 

“This new streaming service will be the home of MLS content and we have worked with Apple to ensure a selection of matches will be available at no cost each week. We are also working to finalize agreements to simulcast select games on major North American linear TV broadcast networks in the early years of our partnership. Moving forward, MLS will have the most accessible distribution of live matches and content in League history.

“In the coming months, we will share more details about the streaming service, new production enhancements, our full programming lineup, a more predictable Saturday night match schedule and much more.” 

Original programming such as a live “whip-around show” will be included in the new MLS streaming service. 

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