Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) have provided further details regarding their Season Pass streaming service as the 2023 season draws closer. While the companies had already revealed several key aspects of the service, including scheduling and the number of games, new information has now emerged about the quality of the streaming and audio, as well as studio show formats.
In a move that may disappoint some fans, Apple has confirmed that it will stream every MLS game in 1080p, which is the same quality as its MLB weekly games last year. However, this represents an improvement for MLS, as not every game was previously available in 1080p. To provide a more comprehensive viewing experience, the plan is to have more cameras on the field at each match. Although 4K will not be available, the visuals should be better than before. Additionally, all MLS regular season and Leagues Cup matches will be streamed with Dolby 5.1 audio, and alternate broadcast options like local radio will also be offered.
Apple and Major League Soccer unveil live event production plan and talent pairings for MLS Season Passhttps://t.co/jq5lCEl07g
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) February 15, 2023
The league has also standardized game start times and schedules, with games primarily on Saturday or Wednesday nights and starting at 7:30 PM local time. There will be some exceptions, including Sunday matches and a few afternoon games. Fans can expect at least 13 matches every Saturday or Wednesday night, starting at 7:30 PM Eastern, Central, Mountain, or Pacific time.
These scheduling changes will make it easier to plan studio programming, and Apple and MLS will offer three options: MLS Countdown, MLS Wrap-up, and MLS 360. MLS Countdown will be a preview show that will air 30 minutes prior to the east coast games kicking off, with 15-minute instalments before the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zone matches. MLS 360 will provide coverage of key moments (goals) as they happen with live look-ins of in-progress matches with studio commentary. Finally, Wrap-up will air when all the games have concluded as a recap of all of the day’s action.
Apple and MLS will offer nearly 1000 games through Season Pass, including every regular season game, the All-Star Game, and MLS Cup playoffs. In addition, there will be 77 matches of the Leagues Cup that will include every team from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX, as well as 250 live MLS Next Pro matches from league-affiliated development teams, including playoffs and the championship game. Over 100 games from the MLS Next youth level, some of which are tournaments or qualifying tournaments, with MLS club academies on display, will also be available.
Season Pass will be available everywhere the Apple TV app is found, including on the web, Apple TV (4K, HD, and 3rd generation), iPhone, iPad, and Mac, as well as Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony, Panasonic, and Hisense smart TVs. It will also be available on Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, and Google TV streaming devices, as well as PlayStation and Xbox consoles. TV providers including Comcast in the US, Sky in the UK, Free in France, Magenta TV in Germany, and B TV in Slovakia offer access.
The 2023 MLS season starts on February 25th, but MLS Season Pass has already launched. There is plenty of on-demand content available to prepare viewers for the season. The streaming plan costs $15 per month or $99 for the season, with discounted rates of $13/month or $79 a season for Apple TV+ customers. Some games will also air on FOX and FS1, and there will be a number of free games during the season, including every match on opening weekend. For a list of games available without a subscription for the first month, fans can check the MLS schedule.