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Apple-MLS Deal Reportedly Contains ‘Opt-Out’ Clause

  • Apple could walk away from the agreement if a certain number of subscribers have not added MLS Season Pass.
  • MLS commissioner Don Garber did not confirm or deny the presence of the clause.
Apple TV signage on the sidelines of an MLS match.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It may be too early to judge the success of Apple’s partnership with Major League Soccer — but the tech giant reportedly already has a contingency plan in place.

According to The Athletic, the league’s deal to broadcast its games on Apple TV+ contains an “opt-out” clause that would allow Apple to walk away from the agreement if a certain number of subscribers have not added MLS Season Pass within a set timeframe.

MLS commissioner Don Garber didn’t confirm or deny the existence of such a clause to The Athletic. MLS did not respond to Front Office Sports’ request for comment.

“We’ve never talked about what the specific terms [of the agreement] are,” Garber said, “and we’re not going to talk about it now. It’s a 10-year partnership. We’re both very, very committed to that.”

While Apple has mostly received praise for its broadcasts through the first two weeks of the MLS season, it’s not immediately clear how many people are watching, as Apple hasn’t released any viewership statistics.

The league and tech company seem content with their partnership: Last week, they announced that the producers of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” would be making an MLS docuseries to stream on Apple TV+.

MLS also drew 380,502 fans to its games on opening weekend — the most in league history.

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