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MLS, Apple Agree to Landmark Media Rights Deal Worth $250 Million

MLS, Apple Agree to Landmark Media Rights Deal Worth $250 Million article feature image
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Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Seattle Sounders star Raúl Ruidíaz, right, celebrates a goal with his teammates.

Major League Soccer has found a long-term partner in its quest for an improved media rights deal, as it agreed to a 10-year deal worth $250 million per year, according to Sports Business Journal.

MLS and Apple will begin their partnership in 2023, and though ESPN and FOX will not have exclusive rights to games, it’s possible the networks could simulcast certain games along with Apple.

For Apple, the goal is to add subscriptions through an MLS subscription offering. Commissioner Don Garber stated he’s confident the league will deliver above expectations for Apple, per SBJ.

The deal is an important one in the media rights landscape, as sports leagues look to utilize the biggest players in the content space, beyond traditional sports networks.

MLS previously held partnerships with ESPN and FOX over the years, but this will be the first time that the entire league’s games will be central to a certain place, whether it be a streaming service or a network.

An appealing part of the deal for Apple is the demographic of MLS’ audience, per SBJ, as the league has a younger fan base that is tech-savvy.

Apple recently agreed to a nine-figure deal with Major League Baseball as well, but the terms of the deal are far different than what Apple is getting with Major League Soccer.

Rather than an exclusive partnership or a high volume of games, Apple will stream two Friday night baseball games per week across a number of countries. It will also include a whip-around style broadcast similar to what viewers experience with the NFL’s RedZone broadcast.

This 10-year deal is a landmark moment for the sports media landscape and also for Major League Soccer, and the return that the league provides to Apple will have major ramifications over other leagues’ future dealings.

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