• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

MLS: Apple Deal Ahead of Expectations Before Messi

  • MLS began its 10-year, $2.5 billion deal with Apple this year.
  • League executives said Apple viewership was better than expected before Lionel Messi joined the league.
Apple TV signage on the sidelines of an MLS match.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With Lionel Messi making his debut for Inter Miami on Friday, Major League Soccer is primed for an epic boost in interest and popularity. According to league SVP of Communications Dan Courtemanche, MLS’s key media partner was already pleased with its early returns before the global superstar came to the league.

“We’re ahead of projections … and that’s before Lionel Messi joined the league,” Courtemanche said on Front Office Sports Today. “Eddie Cue [who] oversees all video services, content, and everything at Apple, has said publicly that they are extremely pleased.” 

Courtemanche noted that Messi has a relationship with both Apple and MLS apparel supplier Adidas, and both were involved in the deal to bring him to Inter Miami. Apple has a vested interest in seeing the hype turn into long-term interest in the league.

“Traditional media rights agreement, you have a great partner who pays you money to broadcast your matches. In this case, we have a guaranteed fee [with Apple], but then we share in revenue above and beyond a certain threshold,” Courtemanche explained. 

Apple is in the first year of a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal with MLS.

Courtemanche also chimed in on the incredible influx of global soccer events coming to the U.S. in the next few years, namely the Copa America in 2024, the Club World Cup in 2025, and the World Cup in 2026.

“We’re bidding on the women’s World Cup in 2027, and if we don’t get it in 2027, I have to think we’ll get it in 2031.”

As MLS seeks to reach the same echelon as the Premier League and other top European leagues, it will remain the only one without a promotion and relegation system.

“We have no plans for promotion and relegation,” said Courtemanche.

For more on our daily podcast covering the influence of sports on business and culture, listen and subscribe on Apple, Google, and Spotify. Also, you can follow us on Twitter.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Is There a Sneakerhead Culture for Soccer Jerseys? PE Firm Thinks So

The Chernin Group invests $38.5 million in a U.K.-based seller of vintage jerseys.

Want to Stream Live Sports? Better Know Your Bundle Options First

Comcast’s new StreamSaver bundle adds to a fast-growing number of combined offerings.

The In-Season Tournament Trend: NASCAR Latest League to Create One

The 2025 schedule will feature a five-race knockout bracket.

Retail-Level Politics: Utah’s New NHL Team Owner Engages Fans Early On

A series of potential team names center on Utah’s status as a haven for winter sports.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Bare Knuckle Fighting Comes Out of the Shadows


Featured Today


‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.
Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
May 19, 2024

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

The NBA’s Final Four May Not Be Exactly What the League Envisioned

This final four will need to lean on its own unique drama to draw big audiences.
May 20, 2024

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.
May 20, 2024

Sports World’s Ground Zero: Dallas to Host NBA and NHL Conference Finals

American Airlines Center is the first arena to host NHL, NBA conference finals games in the same season since 2003.

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 20, 2024

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.
May 20, 2024

WNBA Investigating Las Vegas Tourism Arm’s $100K Payments to Aces Players

The sponsorship is worth more than several players’ salaries.
May 19, 2024

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

Xander Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory.
May 17, 2024

The WNBA Rookies Are Creating a New Celebrity Row

Major celebs like Kim Kardashian and Latto are showing up for the newbies.