Apple dabbled in live sports with weekly Major League Baseball games last year, but now the company is launching its most ambitious offering yet. Today, the company debuts MLS Season Pass, a subscription that gives soccer fans access to every game of the 2023 season, the Leagues Cup and both MLS Next Pro and MLS Next matches — all with no blackouts. While you can sign up today and start watching a library of archived content, the first games begin February 25th.
MLS Season Pass will be available to stream through the Apple TV app on the company's range of devices, game consoles, streaming gadgets, set-top boxes, smart TVs and on the web. Anywhere you find that piece of software you'll be able to access the subscription. The streaming plan costs $15 per month or $99 for the season. If you're an Apple TV+ customer, you'll get the discounted rates of $13/month or $79 a season. What's more, avid fans who are season ticket holders for an MLS club will get the all-inclusive streaming subscription for free. Apple's tie-in with MLS is part of a 10-year deal, so the US league's games aren't going to another network or streaming service any time soon.
If you're not sure if you want to commit just yet, "the majority" of the on-demand content already streaming is available for free. More importantly, Apple will offer every game on opening weekend free of charge and will follow that up with weekly free games. That library of on-demand items includes archived matches going back to 2019, documentary-style stories, the best moments from last season and curated highlights.
Each team has a club page with highlights, schedule info and archived games. Once you select the team(s) you want to follow, match reminders will display in the Up Next section of the Apple TV app. As the season approaches, you'll be privy to game previews and other team-specific content. During matches, updates will show on your iPhone lockscreen via Live Activities.
Apple has committed to English and Spanish commentary teams for every match. Additionally, MLS Season Pass will offer French for matches that include the leagues Canadian clubs. Apple has already announced a team of nearly 50 announcers, including a wide range of experienced broadcasters and former players. Maurice Edu, Cobi Jones, Taylor Twellman, Lori Lindsey and Danielle Slaton are just a few of the many. In addition to games, MLS Season Pass will offer live pre-game, halftime and post-game analysis in addition to a "whip-around show" with live look-ins at in-progress matches and detailed discussions of key moments from every game.
Interestingly, Apple will also provide radio broadcasts as part of the streaming plan. If you don't care for the broadcast team, or just prefer to listen to your favorite club's radio crew, you can opt for that alternate audio. The company promises that the sound will sync up with the live action so it will be a true replacement if you choose it. One of the key things that Apple hasn't announced yet is streaming quality. The company says that the "full production plan" will be announced ahead of the season's start, which will hopefully include that info. Apple's weekly MLB games were streamed in 1080p at 60fps, but since MLS Season Pass is a much more elaborate effort that includes literally every match, maybe the company will surprise us and upgrade to 4K.