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Apple, MLS Unveil Launch Date, Cost, and Other Details for New MLS Season Pass' Streaming Service

17/11/2022

Apple, MLS Unveil Launch Date, Cost, and Other Details for New MLS Season Pass' Streaming Service The new Apple TV subscription service will launch Feb. 1 and cost $14.99/month, $99/season By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 1:40 pm

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Apple and Major League Soccer are finally raising the curtain on the next era in MLS broadcasting, having inked a 10-year, $2.5 billion rights deal in June. Apple's new subscription streaming service, dubbed MLS Season Pass, will launch Feb. 1 and serve as the exclusive home to every live MLS regular-season, postseason, and Leagues Cup match.

MLS Season Pass will cost $14.99/month during the season or $99 per season on the Apple TV app, and Apple TV+ subscribers can sign up at a special price of $12.99 per month, $79 per season. MLS is in the midst of a colossal production-operations buildout to provide the necessary infrastructure and workflows to deliver an entire season of games for the new streaming service.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/videos/mls-season-pass-v2/221115_-cc-us-MLS_SeasonPass_Sizzle_2_ProRes_848x480.mp4

Tight Timeline Till Launch: Production Plans Still in Development Initial reports indicated that MLS planned to centralize production at a single facility, but The Athletic reported earlier this month that the league won't be able to get that arranged in time for the start of the 2023 season and will instead produce every match out of onsite production trucks in 2023.

The Athletic also reported that MLS plans to use 12 cameras on all 2023 game broadcasts (versus seven or eight on typical RSN-produced MLS broadcasts in the past) and that the league could up that complement to 15-20 in later years of the deal.

Although Apple carried a full slate of MLB Friday Night Baseball games last year, MLB Network largely handled the production and operations for the broadcasts. In a similar arrangement, MLS is spearheading the production and technical plans for the MLB Season Pass coverage, and The Athletic reports that there's still a lot of work left to do, particularly from a technical standpoint and the MLS is simply too short on time to accomplish this all in an ideal way.

With the MLS 2023 regular season set to kick off on Feb. 25 and MLS Season Pass scheduled to go live on Feb. 1, the league is in sprint mode to get a sprawling new production-operations ecosystem set up in just 11 weeks. Nonetheless, the MLS leaders developing the production plans do not feel overly concerned, according to the same report.

Programming Preview: Whip-Around Show, English/Spanish Broadcasts, Weekly Previews In addition to all MLS and Leagues Cup matches, hundreds of MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT games will be live-streamed during the season. During match days, MLS Season Pass will feature an exclusive live match whip-around show, as well as game replays, highlights, and analysis.

Subscribers will be able to watch MLS matches featuring English and Spanish announce teams and also listen to a club's home radio broadcast on the Apple TV app. Matches involving Canadian teams will be available in French as well. Matches will take place primarily on Saturdays and Wednesdays, with a few on Sundays. For most matches, the start time will be 7:30 p.m. local time, with pregame coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET; a few matches each week may air at other times. Major League Soccer's complete 2023 schedule will be announced in mid December.

MLS Season Pass will also provide in-depth coverage every week throughout the season, starting with previews of each upcoming match. Fans will have the ability to watch any match from the start (no matter when they tune in) and will also have access to match replays and highlight packages.

Historic Deal Comes Into View: MLS Goes All-In on Streaming MLS Season Pass, which marks the first time a major U.S. pro-sports league has committed exclusively to a streaming outlet, will be available in more than 100 countries and regions and provide MLS with its biggest worldwide audience ever. All matches will be available on billions of devices through the Apple TV app - Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes, game consoles - as well as the web at tv.apple.com.

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, says Eddy Cue, SVP, services, Apple. We're counting down the days to February 2023, when fans everywhere can enjoy MLS Season Pass on billions of devices - all with no blackouts.

Says MLS Commissioner Don Garber, We could not be more excited to bring our fans MLS Season Pass, a new home for all MLS matches, and a wide variety of league and club content they can't get anywhere else. We have the most engaged and passionate fans in sports, and now they'll have every match everywhere with MLS Season Pass.

A subscription to MLS Season Pass will be included as part of full-season ticket packages with MLS clubs. A selection of MLS and Leagues Cup matches, including some of the biggest playoff matchups, will be available to Apple TV+ subscribers at no additional cost, with a number of matches available for free on the Apple TV app.

The MLS 2023 regular season will kick off on Feb. 25, and all matches during the MLS Is Back opening weekend will be available to watch for free on the Apple TV app. Additional details about the MLS Season Pass broadcast teams, production enhancements, and other ways fans can consume MLS content across the Apple ecosystem will be announced in the coming weeks.
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2022/11/17/apple-mls-unveil-launch-date-co...
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