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Friday, June 14, 2024

Messi Adds Bonus Value To Apple’s $2.5B Rights Deal

  • The tech giant seems to have gotten a bargain on its deal signed before Messi's arrival.
  • Messi will reportedly receive a revenue share of subscriptions to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.
Major League Soccer via USA Today Sports

When Apple signed its 10-year, $2.5 billion deal for MLS broadcast rights just over a year ago, the tech giant certainly wasn’t anticipating becoming the exclusive worldwide home of Lionel Messi in its first season.

But that’s exactly what happened. Now, Messi’s debut with Inter Miami against Liga MX club Cruz Azul can only be viewed on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ at 8 p.m. ET.

When the rumors of Messi’s interest in MLS really started heating up, Apple didn’t want to miss out. The effort to lure Messi was so great that the league’s sole media partner agreed to share revenue from MLS Season Pass with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

With Messi’s arrival, Apple’s global rights to distribute MLS games become that much more valuable. Before, it would be hard to understand why many fans outside the U.S. would be interested enough in purchasing a subscription — but now the possibilities are endless as fans from every corner of the earth want to get a glimpse of the superstar in Miami.

“It makes Apple look really smart,” sports attorney Irwin Kishner told Front Office Sports.

Priced at $99 per season for non-Apple TV+ subscribers — now down to $49 for the remainder of the 2023 campaign — MLS Season Pass had already been beating internal expectations for signups and viewership.

Next season could be the real money-maker for Apple as Inter Miami gets a full season of Messi and will look to make a championship run.

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