Apple TV and Major League Soccer See Surge in Subscriptions

Apple TV and Major League Soccer See Surge in Subscriptions

The recent debut of soccer legend Lionel Messi in Major League Soccer (MLS) with Inter Miami CF has caused a buzz worldwide — and a surge in subscriptions for MLS Season Pass, a streaming service exclusively launched with Apple.

The service gained 110,000 subscribers on the day of Messi’s debut with the team — a figure nearly three times that seen on the first day of the season in February, measurement and analytics company Antenna said in a Tuesday (Sept. 5) blog post.

Traditionally, Antenna has observed that most sign-ups for league-operated services like MLS Season Pass occur before or at the start of a season, according to the post. However, 46% of all MLS Season Pass sign-ups to date took place in July, following Messi’s arrival.

Antenna’s analysis of MLS Season Pass sign-up data from February 1 to July 31 also found that the partnership between MLS Season Pass and Apple TV+ has successfully attracted both existing Apple TV+ subscribers and new users to the streaming service.

Out of the total sign-ups during this period, 48% were already Apple TV+ subscribers at the time of signing up, 37% did not have an Apple TV+ subscription and still do not and 15% became Apple TV+ subscribers either at the same time or after signing up for MLS Season Pass, the post said.

Messi’s arrival and the subsequent surge in MLS Season Pass sign-ups highlight the increasing popularity of direct-to-consumer (D2C) sports streaming services, per the report. Numerous Regional Sports Network (RSN) services are already in the market or set to launch soon, and new sports add-on packages from existing subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services have been announced. Additionally, traditional sports media outlets are actively planning their streaming future.

As streaming adoption and time spent on streaming platforms surpass cable, media properties and leagues are launching their own streaming services.

Apple and MLS announced their partnership on MLS Season Pass in November, saying customers would be able to sign up for the subscription service on the Apple TV app beginning in February.

The deal is similar to one Amazon Prime struck with the National Football League (NFL) in March 2022 for Thursday Night Football, which proved to be a subscriber magnet, PYMNTS reported at the time.