With all matches of the upcoming MLS season (starting Feb. 25) and Leagues Cup (starting Aug. 4) set broadcast by Apple under a 10-year, $2.5 billion global deal, there’s been a lot of discussion about how easy they’ll be for many to access. While some games will be simulcast on linear TV, the full package will require a MLS Season Pass subscription, which will cost U.S. consumers $14.99 a month or $99 a year. But Thursday saw a couple of important developments there: T-Mobile announced they’d provide a free year of MLS Season Pass to all their T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers, and DirecTV for Business announced that they’d added MLS Season Pass to their sports offerings, allowing bars, restaurants, hotels and more that subscribe to their service to show these games:
#MLSSeasonPass, the unprecedented new subscription service from Apple and Major League Soccer, is available February 25 to commercial establishments in the U.S. Let #DIRECTVFORBUSINESS deliver the top @MLS action when the season kicks off! https://t.co/XiTmcvffFT pic.twitter.com/SgM8CakZq5
— DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS (@directvbusiness) February 16, 2023
Here’s more on that from DirecTV’s release:
DIRECTV For BUSINESS is the national provider for MLS Season Pass, the unprecedented subscription service from Apple and Major League Soccer to commercial establishments. Through this agreement, DIRECTV will deliver the top action from all MLS clubs to its network of more than 300,000 restaurants, bars, hotel lounges, retail shops and other venues during the 2023 MLS season on their existing satellite equipment.
When the 2023 MLS season kicks off on February 25, MLS fans can head to their favorite gathering place to enjoy MLS matches and coverage available through MLS Season Pass provided by DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS. Finding businesses with MLS Season Pass is made easy by downloading the DIRECTV Sports Bar Finder app, available on the App Store. MLS Season Pass games will be on DIRECTV For BUSINESS channels 9475-9490.
“DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS boasts an unrivaled nationwide network of more than 300,000 venues where local sports fans gather who count upon us to deliver the very best in live action,” said Rob Thun, DIRECTV Chief Content Officer. “We welcome the addition of MLS Season Pass to an already market-leading lineup of sports properties that our commercial customers can continue to receive seamlessly through their existing satellite equipment and offer to their patrons.”
This also comes on the same day as DirecTV for Business signing a five-year partnership with the National Restaurant Association. And it fits with some previous moves they’ve made around streaming content, including a Thursday Night Football deal with Amazon this past fall and an earlier deal with ESPN+. But this feels like quite an important one for MLS, as the league has a lot of supporters’ clubs that often meet in bars to watch away matches. That should be easier to keep going with a deal like this. And many restaurants and bars are excited about this too, as Buffalo Wild Wings chief marketing officer Tristan Meline said in a quote provided to AA:
“Buffalo Wild Wings is excited DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS has added MLS Season Pass to an already amazing lineup of national sports offerings. With the addition of MLS Season Pass, we are able to offer even more sports fans a reason to come to our sports bars to watch their favorite teams play.”