Tuesday's announcement of a 10-year deal between Apple TV and Major League Soccer — worth at least $2.5 billion, per reports — felt historic on a number of levels.

Set to start next year and run through 2032, the agreement will make every MLS game available through the Apple TV app, with no blackout restrictions, for a yet-to-be-announced fee.

We've seen leagues dabble in sub-packages of games on streaming devices — Amazon streams Thursday NFL games and Apple TV has some MLB rights, for example — this MLS deal is the first to take a major sport and move it entirely onto a streaming platform. I talked about the revolutionary nature of this on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast.

What does it mean for the league and its fans? What questions remain unanswered? Let's dig into the good, the bad and the unknown.


  • On balance, this seems like a win for MLS. It starts with the financial impact of the new deal.

The Athletic reported that Major League Soccer's current media rights deals on ESPN, Fox and Univision paid the league about $90 million per season.

The new deal with Apple reportedly will guarantee the league at least $250 million a year, with the possibility of more if a certain subscription threshold is reached.

That will put millions of dollars into the pockets of teams and will boost player salaries since the salary cap is tied to media revenue.

  • It's also great news for fans of just MLS. Because there are no local blackout restrictions, fans in every market will have access to every league game for a fee. If you are a season ticket holder for any MLS team, you will get the games for free. It's a smart investment by the league that rewards those who have been most loyal to them.
  • This also feels like a good thing just from the standpoint of a league taking the full plunge into the streaming world. MLS was positioned well to do it because it's not as cost-prohibitive as other major men's U.S. leagues and because a lot of its fans are used to streaming content already.


  • In a statement announcing the move Tuesday, Eddy Cue from Apple said: "For the first time in the history of sports, fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place. It's a dream come true for MLS fans, soccer fans, and anyone who loves sports. No fragmentation, no frustration — just the flexibility to sign up for one convenient service that gives you everything MLS, anywhere and anytime you want to watch."

He got part of that right.

As I noted, it's great if you're an MLS fan. Sign up. Get all the games. Simple, and perhaps a cost-savings if that's all you are interested in.

But if you are a fan of all sports? This could be another step in a process that actually makes watching sports more cumbersome and expensive.

Let's say you were planning to buy the Bally Sports Plus streaming subscription for $19.99 a month once it becomes available (as soon as later this summer). Before this announcement, that would have given you access to almost every Minnesota United match (on BSN) in addition to Wolves, Wild, Twins, Lynx and other programming.

Now you will be paying that plus whatever the MLS package costs if you want access to the Loons in addition to other teams.

If more teams and leagues ultimately go to this model, consumers might wind up paying for a lot of different things in different places that they used to get in one place.

  • MLS also runs the risk of decreased visibility by diminishing its footprint with more traditional broadcast partners. While it sounds like there will still be a package of games on ESPN into the future, the move makes it clear that Apple TV is the primary home for MLS.
  • The Athletic reported that not only will games no longer be on regional sports networks (like Bally's) but also the broadcasts will be centralized and streamlined with a dozen or so broadcast teams splitting up all the games. So no local broadcast teams.

It should be noted, though, that both Minnesota United broadcast voices Callum Williams and Kyndra de St. Aubin hailed the move on Twitter.


  • With something so fresh, there are bound to be questions that don't get answered for a while but which bear watching.

Among them: How much will this subscription actually cost? Based on whatever price point is announced, how many people will sign up? And is this the wave of the future for other leagues as rights deals expire in the coming years?

It should all be fascinating to watch, even if the places to watch are changing.