MLS Season Pass recorded more than 110,000 new U.S. sign-ups on July 21, the day of Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami debut match against Cruz Azul. It marks a tremendous surge over the prior day’s 6,143 MLS Season Pass sign-ups, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Subscription analytics company Antenna found that MLS Season Pass drew 288,101 new U.S. subscribers during July as Messi arrived in Miami. That is more than the previous four months combined, when 241,839 accounts signed up for MLS Season Pass across March, April, May, and June.
Antenna’s figures only consider U.S. subscribers and not the international fans who stream MLS Season Pass, which Apple offers globally as part of its 10-year, $2.5 billion rights deal with the league. MLS Season Pass subscribers have surpassed 1 million.
“We are beating our expectation in terms of subscribers, and the fact that Messi went to Inter Miami helped us out there a bit,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an August earnings call.
Nearly half of fans who paid for MLS Season Pass from February through July were existing Apple TV+ subscribers, according to Antenna. Fifteen percent of those who signed up for MLS Season Pass during that period also signed up for Apple TV+, which costs $6.99 monthly.
Fans can purchase an MLS Season Pass for $14.99 or $49 per season, or those who subscribe to Apple TV+ can add an MLS Season Pass for $12.99 a month or $39 per season. MLS and Apple gave free MLS Season Pass subscriptions to MLS season ticket holders this year. Messi’s stardom in MLS has driven season ticket sales for clubs across the league.