Apple TV and MLS Season Pass

Is the landmark rights deal between MLS and Apple going well? It’s been hard to tell.

However, according to a new report in the Seattle Times, they’re about to close in on an important marker on the road to success.

Seattle Times Sounders beat reporter Jayda Evans wrote over the weekend about some Seattle fans’ annoyances with trying to follow their favorite MLS squad now that the league has entered into a 10-year $2.5 billion broadcast deal with Apple TV.

How well that arrangement has gone so far has been up for debate in a lot of circles.

In March, The Athletic reported that the deal included 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.” When Apple announced it was offering customers one free month to try out the deal, it made some wonder if things weren’t looking good. Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue said in early June that they were “off to a great start with subscriptions and viewership” but refused to share anything specific.

In the middle of Evan’s article, she adds an interesting update to the state of the arrangement, saying that sources have confirmed they’re about to cross a major benchmark.

“MLS sources confirmed the league is nearing Apple’s required subscription threshold that kick-starts an agreement for the company to share subscription revenue with MLS,” wrote Evans. “The league’s players, per terms of the new CBA, would also receive 12.5% of the increase in media revenue this year if the amount exceeds $100 million of the 2022 media compensation, which was about $65 million when excluding fees paid to the USMNT.”

It’s unclear if that threshold is the same one that would make the opt-out clause null. And of course, “nearing” could be doing a lot of work here as far as we know.

Regardless, it’s one of the few tangible signs we’ve seen that the deal appears to be on the right track. Of course, there’s a long way to go and plenty of hurdles that remain in convincing casual fans to pony up for yet another streaming subscription. But we’d imagine a lot of other leagues (and streamers) are keeping an eye on this deal to see how it performs for both sides.

[Seattle Times]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to