10 things we learned about the MLS and Apple TV deal

Major League Soccer, or MLS, previously announced a 10-year deal with Apple TV to broadcast all games starting in 2023. While the deal has been in the works for months, details are still trickling out as we get closer to the new Year.

Even though MLS has agreed to a partnership with Apple TV, most games will still be behind a paywall. The Athletic reports that only 210 of the 493 total MLS games next season will be available to regular subscribers to the streaming service. This is reflected in approximately 43% of the matches throughout the season. MLS season ticket holders, however, will not have to pay extra for these games.

The aforementioned report also suggests that MLS is scheduling games for Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday night could see six games available for free, while the remaining eight will be behind the paywall. Saturday’s matches, on the other hand, would feature four matches in front of the paywall. Match schedules are reportedly set for 7:30pm local time for Saturday’s time slot. There will also be a game every Sunday.

The deal between the league and Apple TV will also end blackouts. All games will be available regardless of the viewer’s location within the United States.

Doubts remain about MLS deal with Apple TV

With the start of the season just four months away, there has been no official announcement on commentators, analysts, or on-air talent. MLS reportedly interviewed every play-by-play announcer who worked for the league during the 2022 campaign. This was reportedly more than 200 people.

Additionally, Apple and the league ran test broadcasts to see which broadcasters had good chemistry with analysts. The plan is to use these commentators interchangeably throughout the season. However, this can change depending on the chemistry and the reaction of the fans.

The Athletic report suggests that Apple is attacking ESPN’s Taylor Twellman. With his current contract with the sports media giant expiring at the end of the year, Twellman would be available. Supposedly, the league is also looking at Luis Omar Tapia and Diego Balado. Currently at Univision, the duo could make the move to be the top Spanish-language commentators at Apple.

While the cast list has yet to be confirmed, the on-air talent will be at the actual games. FOX Sports has come under fire in recent years for calling MLS games from the studio.

Another revelation is that the MLS games will be available in three different languages. Currently, the plans are to have at least 12 English-speaking teams, 12 Spanish-speaking and three French-speaking. All Canadian games will be available in French.

An interesting development in the deal is that Apple TV will give viewers the option to mute TV commentators and allow local radio to sync up with the broadcast. It will be available to home teams for the 2023 season only. However, visiting fans can look forward to this option for years to come.

MLS is also still trying to reach a simulcast deal. This could mean that ESPN, FOX Sports or Univision could still broadcast certain games during the season. However, each club will have its own ‘channel’ on Apple TV’s MLS coverage.


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