Apple Inc. AAPL has just announced a subscription service as part of its live sports coverage.
What Happened: Apple and Major League Soccer announced that the MLS Season Pass — a new subscription service to soccer fans in over 100 countries and regions — will be launched on Feb. 1.
This service will bring to fans every MLS regular-season match, entire playoffs and Leagues Cup with no blackout. These matches will be made available on billions of devices through the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes, consoles and the web at tv.apple.com.
The company said the MLS Season Pass marks the official kickoff of the 10-year partnership between MLS and Apple.
“There isn’t a more perfect time to introduce MLS Season Pass, coming off the heels of the most dramatic MLS Cup in history and with MLS as the fastest-growing soccer league in the world,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services.
During match days, MLS Season Pass will feature an exclusive live match whip-around show, so fans never miss any exciting moment.
Pricing: Subscription to the MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app will cost $14.99 per month during the season or $99 per season. Apple TV+ subscribers get special pricing of $12.99 per month and $79 per season, the company said.
The first match of the MLS 2023 regular season starts Feb. 25.
For promoting the partnership, all 29 clubs in the MLS will have an Apple TV parch on their jerseys in different colors.
Why It’s Important: Given the intensifying rivalry in the streaming space, companies are trying out options such as live sports coverage to lure viewers and keep the subscription dollars coming. Rival Amazon Inc. AMZN exclusively covers Thursday Night Football as part of an 11-year deal. Apple is widely speculated as a contender for acquiring the rights to National Football League Sunday Ticket.
The odds of Apple getting into NFL streaming went up with the announcement, said Loup Funds Managing Partner Gene Munster. The $99 a year subscription pricing lends credence to the expectations, the venture capitalist said, adding that he was bracing for MLS season being included in the base Apple TV+ offering.
Price Action: Apple closed Wednesday’s session down 0.83% at $148.79, according to Benzinga Pro data.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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