Another new player in the TV rights market. All Major League Soccer (MLS) matches, the North American football championship, will be broadcast from 2023 and for ten years only to subscribers to the Apple TV application, the platform announced on Tuesday, which continues its investments in sports after baseball. “The Apple TV app will exclusively broadcast all MLS matches live from 2023”and until 2032, writes Apple in a press release, specifying that the offer is aimed at subscribers « of the whole world ».
Apple is betting on football for the long term as the United States, Canada and Mexico will host the 2026 World Cup. No amount appears in the press release but according to the specialized site Sports Business Journal, Apple reportedly agreed to pay a minimum guaranteed amount of $250 million per season. According to the site, MLS remains in negotiations with channels such as ESPN and Fox to broadcast certain matches.
The American giant is defending an offer that will allow « for the first time » to the fans “to access the entire professional league of a major sport in one place”. Subscribers in the stands of one of the twenty-eight MLS franchises will be offered the full offer.
Launched in 1996 with ten franchises at the time, MLS has grown rapidly and manages to attract spectators to stadiums (over 20,000 per game on average), but the few European stars it attracts are often in end of career, like the Italian international Giorgio Chiellini, who signed Monday for Los Angeles FC.
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MLS brings together less than 2 million viewers in the United States for the most important matches, far behind basketball (NBA), baseball (MLB) or American football (NFL). Apple had already invested in live sports, announcing in March that it would broadcast two MLB baseball games on Friday nights live during the regular season.