MLS officially launched their new “MLS Season Pass” platform on Wednesday, the new multimedia agreement with Apple to provide streaming of all MLS games plus far more promised content along the way.
To get you ready for the new service, here’s an explainer of what we know so far:
What is MLS Season Pass?
Basically, it’s the streaming service for MLS games moving forward. Instead of non-local regular season games being on ESPN+, and local games being on a cable channel, Apple TV will carry all MLS games moving forward, including the national broadcasts and all local games.
What does that mean? There have to be local blackouts like all sports do, right?
Nope. The big selling point of this new service is there will no longer be blackouts at all. So if you subscribe, you’ll get access to all games in MLS, Leagues Cup, plus MLS Next Pro and even some MLS Next (academy) games. That means all LA Galaxy games in MLS and Leagues Cup will be available, plus LA Galaxy II MLS Next Pro games, if you’re into that kind of thing. You no longer have to wonder if you’re inside or outside the blackout zone, or sign up for a streaming service only to find out your team’s games are blocked. Again, this is a big deal!
So Galaxy games won’t be on Spectrum Sportsnet anymore?
Ok. How much does this new service cost?
The base price is $14.99 per month during the season or $99 per season, unless you have an Apple TV+ subscription, in which case it’s $12.99 per month or $79 per season. If you only watch MLS regular season and Leagues Cup group stage games of one team, the cost will come out to roughly $2.50/game. If you use family sharing on Apple (you can share up to 6 Apple IDs on one account), you can share an MLS Season Pass log-in account with those in your family sphere.
Importantly, if you have MLS full season tickets, you will get a free MLS Season Pass account in 2023 as part of the season tickets. So that’s a good deal and a savvy move by MLS to get some of the most loyal fans onside for the initial launch.
In addition, if you don’t want to or can’t splurge for MLS Season Pass right away, it appears roughly six MLS games a week will be available to watch for free on Apple TV. Will those games always include your team? Probably not, but there will be some games available to legally watch without paying.
Does the service only provide games?
No! Apple and MLS are promising lots of content. It appears there are historic features from MLS history, as well as interviews and profiles with current players, regular updates from clubs with match preview content and even updates on academy matters, a features series on supporters and much more. In addition, there will be an archive of games dating back to 2019 that you can watch — if you want to watch Galaxy El Trafico wins over the past four years, by all means.
There will also be programming around games, with both pregame and postgame shows promised, and the big additions are highlighted by a five-hour whiparound show every Saturday evening, when the bulk of games will take place.
Can I watch this year’s games on demand? Can I stop a game to go grab a snack and rewind a play if I want another look?
Yes, yes and yes. You can come home from a game and watch it on the service. The archive appears set to remain as well so if you want to rewatch a game from several weeks or months back, that shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve been told that pausing and rewinding will be available during games. If you hop on during a game, you’ll be asked if you want to watch from the beginning or at the live point. It seems pretty flexible for modern needs of MLS watchers.
Let’s say I’m a Galaxy fan living abroad. Where do I watch games?
Believe it or not, but most likely on Apple TV through MLS Season Pass. This is being rolled out to over 100 countries, so chances are pretty good you will get the same experience as American fans. The main difference at this stage is fans in Mexico will not get access to Leagues Cup games, presumably because a broadcast agreement for that competition has been signed in Mexico.
Will there be coverage in other languages?
For now it appears non-game programming will be in English, but all games will be available to watch with English and Spanish commentary, plus all games involving Canadian teams will also have French commentary available.
Will Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones be calling Galaxy games?
Good question. Jones has been hired as part of the stable of announcers for games, while Tutino so far has not. It’s unclear if that will change, or if Tutino will do radio calls (which apparently will also be available as an alternate feed on MLS Season Pass broadcasts, I guess we’ll see), or something else entirely. I’m not sure if particular clubs will have dedicated “announcing teams” or if there will be regular rotations of assignments, my suspicion is we’ll see announcers get lumped together in regional cohorts and then will semi-rotate around those regions, but time will tell.
Ok, this seems like something I want. How do I sign up?
Head on over to this landing page and you can get started.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.