Apple has revealed more details about its MLS Season Pass, the company’s latest foray into live sports streaming. While some information was already released earlier, both the company and the league have now provided more information, including the quality of streaming and audio, the schedule, the number of games, and the studio show formats.
Apple’s MLS Season Pass will stream every game in 1080p, which is the same quality that the company offered for its weekly Major League Baseball games last year. While it’s an improvement for MLS, as every game was not available in 1080p previously, it’s likely to be a disappointment for those hoping for 4K quality. The plan is to have more cameras on the field at each match, providing a more comprehensive visual experience for viewers. All MLS regular season and Leagues Cup matches will also be streamed with Dolby 5.1 audio, as well as alternate broadcast options like local radio.
One significant change for MLS fans is that the league has standardized game start times and schedules. With a few exceptions, games will be on Saturday or Wednesday nights and will start at 7:30 p.m. local time. Fans can expect at least 13 matches every Saturday or Wednesday night, with start times at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, Central, Mountain, or Pacific. There are also some Sunday matches scheduled and a few afternoon games, but the new schedule should make it easier for fans to follow the action.
Apple and MLS will offer three studio show formats: a preview show (MLS Countdown), a post-game show (MLS Wrap-up), and continuous “whiparound” coverage for the entire five hours games take place (MLS 360). A typical Saturday will begin with MLS Countdown 30 minutes prior to the east coast games kicking off. There will also be 15-minute installments of Countdown before the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zone matches begin. During the entire night, MLS 360 will offer 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.
In total, Apple and MLS will offer almost 1000 games through Season Pass, including every regular season game, the All-Star Game, and MLS Cup playoffs. The streaming service will also cover the 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 and over 100 games from the MLS Next youth level.
The MLS Season Pass will be available on various platforms, including the web, Apple TV (4K, HD and 3rd generation), iPhone, iPad and Mac, Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony, Panasonic, and Hisense smart TVs, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, and Google TV streaming devices. It’s also available on PlayStation and Xbox consoles and accessible via Comcast in the US, Sky in the UK, Free in France, Magenta TV in Germany, and B TV in Slovakia.
The 2023 MLS season starts on February 25th, but Season Pass is already available for on-demand content. The streaming plan costs $15 per month or $99 for the season. Apple TV+ customers can avail of discounted rates of $13/month or $79 for the season. 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 the first month, you can check the MLS schedule for a list of games that can be watched without a subscription.