Apple’s foray into live sports took a big step forward Tuesday.
Apple and Major League Soccer have announced a 10-year partnership on a streaming service that will allow fans to watch every game without local blackouts or restrictions. The service will be available exclusively through the Apple TV app beginning next year.
The deal is Apple’s second venture into streaming professional sports. In April, it began airing “Friday Night Baseball,” an exclusive weekly doubleheader of Major League Baseball games.
“The opportunity to partner with a sports league, and truly build the product together with them is very, very unique,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services. “We can bring the things that we do really well with the things that they do really well and really make the product, which I think will be significantly better for the fans. We want to create a great experience for fans to be able to watch and experience MLS like they’ve never had before.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Apple is not paying a rights fee but rather a minimum guarantee against revenues that will be generated with both selling subscriptions.
“It’s part of what we both wanted. We’re in business together,” Garber said.
People with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that the minimum guarantee is worth $250 million per year. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t at liberty to publicly discuss financial matters.
Sports Business Journal was the first to report about the minimum guarantee.
The details of the streaming service will be announced in the coming months. The package will be included for fans who have full-season ticket packages for their club.
Some MLS and Leagues Cup matches will be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+…