In a trial run ahead of the regular season kicking off next weekend, three preseason matches are streaming today on the Apple TV app, as Apple tests production and live streaming infrastructure for MLS Season Pass.
MLS Season Pass is a first-of-its-kind sports league streaming package, offering all regular season games live and on demand for subscribers with no blackouts. Sign up here in time for the official season kickoff beginning February 25.
Apple had never promised that preseason games would be streamed on the service. Based on all the reporting we’ve heard, MLS and Apple were scrambling to get everything ready to go in time for the regular 2023 season launch, so perhaps more comprehensive preseason broadcast schedule will be ready next year.
However, they have quietly set up streams for three preseason final matches taking place today. The fixtures are:
- Orlando City vs New England, 7.10 PM EST
- Houston vs Dallas, 8:10 PM EST
- LA Galaxy vs Toronto, 9:10 PM EST
To watch, make sure your device has an updated Apple TV app or the MLS content will not be visible. For iPhone and iPad users, that means ensuring your device is updated to iOS 16.2 or later.
When MLS starts for real next week, about six games a week will be in front of the paywall. To watch all MLS games through the Apple TV app, users will need to purchase the MLS Season Pass priced at $99 per season, or $14.99 a month. Apple TV+ subscribers can get a discounted rate of $79 per season, or $12.99 a month.
MLS Season Pass represents a huge undertaking, with English and Spanish streams for every match, onsite broadcast teams for every match, alternate local radio audio options, pre-game and post-game analysis, and a live whip-around show featuring highlights from all matches airing each Wednesday and Saturday (called ‘MLS 360’).
Apple is paying MLS about $250 million per year for the rights, in a ten-year deal that runs through 2032. Although the Apple TV app will be the exclusive streaming home to all matches, some games may be simulcast on other broadcast networks like Fox.
In related news, as part of promotion for the launch, Apple is hosting a 5v5 show match with MLS and Apple TV+ stars, including Cristo Fernandez (Dani Rojas, Ted Lasso) and Sam Richardson (Aniq, The Afterparty). That takes place next Friday, and will presumably be streamed for all to tune in and watch.