The kick of the ball! The blow of the whistle! The IPA-fueled chants of fans!
It’s all coming to Apple TV+ after the streaming platform reached a ten-year, US$2.5 billion deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) to become the exclusive home of all matches.
What happened: Starting next year, those looking to tune into MLS games will no longer find them on TSN and Quebec-based TVA, but through Apple TV+, with commentary available in English and French for games featuring the league’s three Canadian teams.
Streamers are increasingly turning to live sports offerings to stand out in a sea of new platforms. Apple also airs select MLB Friday Night Baseball games, while Disney and Amazon have deals with Indian Premier League cricket and the NFL, respectively.
In Canada: Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the country, with a new generation of fans waiting in the wings as Canada’s men’s national team (which has several MLS players on its roster) is set to make its first World Cup appearance in 36 years in November.
- MLS still trails behind the popularity of other leagues in Canada (102,000 viewers tuned into the 2021 MLS Cup compared with 3.6 million for the Stanley Cup) but could see big growth now that Apple may spend big $$$ on marketing to promote it.
Why it matters: Having all the league's games in one place sounds nice but it could lead to individual sports leagues moving to other unique streamers (while others remain on cable), resulting in monthly bills that would hurt even more than a championship loss.