Jun 15, 2022 - Economy

Apple's soccer deal is a huge move for sports fans

Illustration of a television with baseballs, hockey pucks, soccer balls and basketballs.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

All Major League Soccer (MLS) games will be streamed exclusively via the Apple TV app starting in 2023, the league and Apple announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Live sports are one of traditional TV's last big draws, but deals like this one are making it easier than ever for sports fans to cut the cord.

  • Having every match on one platform also sidesteps the "where's the game?" issue plaguing other sports. Baseball, for instance, is split between regional sports networks (RSNs), ESPN, Apple, and more.

By the numbers: It's a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal, The Athletic reports.

What they're saying: "It's a dream come true for MLS fans, soccer fans, and anyone who loves sports," Apple Services chief Eddy Cue said in a statement. "No fragmentation, no frustration."

Other leagues, teams, and networks are experimenting with new streaming options, too.

  • For example: NESN, home of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins, is prepping a first-of-its-kind standalone streaming platform available without a cable login — but it'll cost a whopping $30/month.
  • Other RSNs, like New York's SNY, are stream-able with a cable login.

Yes, but: It's a risky move for MLS, which is growing but still looking to get a proper foothold.

Our thought bubble: Sports broadcast and streaming arrangements are a complex mess, but this is a fan-friendly setup that shows how it should be done.

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