MLS Season Pass Sep 27, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Signs for AppleTV before the Campeones Cup between the Tigres UANL and the Los Angeles FC at BMO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2024 MLS season scheduled to begin next week, the league has a strong base to grow its MLS Season Pass streaming service on Apple TV.

Per the Sports Business Journal, MLS Season Pass ended the 2023 season wih over two million subscriptions after lagging with under a million before Lionel Messi’s July debut with Inter Miami.

In August, Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas claimed subscriptions to Season Pass doubled after Messi’s debut.

That doesn’t mean two million paid, full-season subscriptions, mind you. The total subscriptions include signups from promotions, like the free susbcriptions offered by T-Mobile, subscriptions given to MLS season ticket holders, pro-rated annual subscriptions signed up for later in the year, and monthly subscriptions.

This also doesn’t mean that MLS Season Pass is going into 2024 with two million subscribers. Some of the million-plus subscribers who joined after Messi’s debut could have not renewed. Alternatively, many more subscribers could have joined MLS Season Pass (whether or not they’re paying full freight or got a promotional deal) to consume a full season of Messi and the rest of the league.

There is also some question about whether or not MLS is appraoching the threshold to receive extra revenue from Apple. Back in June, before Messi’s debut, the Seattle Times reported that MLS was “nearing” the mark. But in an interview with SBJ, MLS Commissioner Don Garber claimed MLS had “not put any timetable on when we hit that threshold.” If the report from last June was accurate, MLS soared past that mark after Messi joined the league. If it wasn’t and Garber is being truthful about there not being a timetable to approaching that goal, MLS will have some work to do in 2024 to continue building its subscriber base.

[Sports Business Journal]

About Joe Lucia

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