Major League Soccer matches surpass 1 Million viewers in debut season of Apple TV+ broadcast deal
Major League Soccer (MLS) has experienced a surge in viewership, surpassing one million viewers for its most significant matches during the inaugural season of its 10-year, US$2.5 billion global broadcast deal with Apple TV+.
This increase in audience numbers has been attributed in part to the presence of Argentine football legend Lionel Messi at Inter Miami.
In its first year of partnership with Apple TV+, MLS has officially confirmed seven-figure audiences for select matches, showcasing the impact of the groundbreaking broadcast agreement. Commissioner Don Garber revealed that 10 million fans actively purchased tickets for games throughout the season, reflecting the league’s strong fanbase engagement.
The details surrounding MLS Season Pass subscription numbers, launched earlier in 2023, have been closely guarded by both Apple and MLS. However, estimates from July hinted at exceeding one million sign-ups. Garber’s recent statements underscore the substantial influence of Apple’s global reach and the magnetic appeal of Messi, driving not only ticket and merchandise sales but also Season Pass subscriptions.
Can’t keep Messi off the pitch for long. 😤
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 14, 2023
While it is improbable that matches without Messi achieved the one million viewership milestone, the average viewership for 34 regular season matches on ABC and ESPN last season was 343,000. The absence of comprehensive data from Apple and MLS poses challenges for a more in-depth analysis of this significant viewership boost.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Services, expressed his surprise at the unexpected success.
“We’ve had more than a million viewers to watch the biggest games this season; no one expected that,” Cue said.
“I lived in Miami 40 years ago. And it’s always been, ‘Soccer is just around the corner’. It’s not around the corner now – it’s here, it’s now. And everyone in the world now knows about MLS, everyone knows about Inter Miami, thanks to Messi and the work that the league is doing.”
As MLS enters the playoffs with eight teams remaining in contention for the title, anticipation is building for the MLS Cup final scheduled for December 9.
The Conference Semifinals are set! 👀
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 13, 2023
The league’s newfound success in partnership with Apple TV+ underscores the growing global appeal of MLS, fuelled by iconic players like Messi and strategic broadcast alliances.