Mar 4, 2023; Commerce City, Colorado, USA; Detailed view of an Apple TV patch on the jersey of Sporting Kansas City forward Khiry Shelton (11) following the draw against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We’re just weeks into Apple’s mold-breaking deal with MLS, and the tech company is clearly expecting big things from the rights deal.

However, if the deal doesn’t deliver subscriber numbers to Apple TV+, they could reportedly walk away. Per The Athletic, Apple has an opt-out clause in their deal with MLS if enough people don’t sign up for the MLS Season Pass service. MLS Commissioner Don Garber didn’t confirm nor deny that an opt-out clause exists.

MLS’ deal with Apple is still in its infancy and specific terms of the pact have been hard to come by. Sources familiar with the arrangement, though, have suggested over the past few months that the league’s agreement with Apple contains an “opt-out” clause that allows Apple to walk away from the agreement if the league doesn’t drive a certain number of subscribers to Season Pass in a set timeframe. Garber did not confirm or deny such a clause.

“We’ve never talked about what the specific terms (of the agreement) are,” he said, “and we’re not going to talk about it now. It’s a 10-year partnership. We’re both very, very committed to that. I am wholeheartedly convinced that this company and our league are going to be together for a very long time.”

This is pretty interesting, and not all that surprising, to me, but I would assume it’s more of a long-term thing than short-term. I doubt MLS would be opting out before the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which is being held in North America. But after that, if MLS hasn’t driven the amount of subscriptions that Apple is seeking, I can see the company looking to cut bait and move on.

[The Athletic]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.