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Messi in Miami is huge for Apple and MLS Season Pass

That headline right there? It may well be the understatement of the year. Forget Apple Vision Pro. Forget the new iPhone 15 this fall. Forget new Macs and AirPods.

Lionel Messi will play for Inter Miami.

And now that the greatest living football (soccer!) player in the world is headed to the U.S. and Major League Soccer, Apple’s MLS Season Pass subscription is about to land what is sure to be a pretty big bump in subscribers.

Inter Miami on MLS Season Pass.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Just how many more MLS Season Pass subscriptions will there be with the move? We likely won’t know. Apple doesn’t give numbers. Neither does MLS. But this much is certain: If you want to watch all the Inter Miami matches you want, you’re going to need MLS Season Pass. Apple knows it. MLS knows it. And Messi knows it. And just before the transfer was made official (or as official as it gets until Messi steps on the pitch in South Florida), The Athletic reported that “MLS and Apple have discussed offering Messi a share of the revenue generated by new subscribers to MLS Season Pass.” That’s one player out of about 870 or so who make up the 29 teams’ 30-player rosters, assuming others don’t get any sort of the same deal.

For its part, MLS released a statement, saying: “We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer. Although work remains to finalize a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our League.”

This is the sort of thing we haven’t really seen in the streaming era. You could maybe make the argument that NBA League Pass is in the same sort of ballpark (excuse the mixed sports metaphor) with some of its superstars. But even then, we’re talking about a different sort of dominance with Messi — who, by the way, is coming off  the storybook 2022 FIFA World Cup championship with the Argentina national team. But because soccer (football!) simply doesn’t have the same sort of television coverage in the U.S. that the NBA, NFL, or Major League Baseball enjoy, there’s just not as much of a chance for anyone and everyone to watch a single team.

For that, it’s back to MLS Season Pass. And the timing really couldn’t be better. The 2023 MLS Season has reached the halfway mark, and as such, MLS Season Pass is down to $49 for the rest of the season. That’s half off the full-season price this year. And while there’s no guarantee just how long Messi will play in MLS (David Beckham spent two years of his five-year contract with the L.A. Galaxy on loan from AC Milan in Italy), any amount of time is good for MLS — and good for Apple. And that’s obviously even more true going into the 2024 season.

So if you’ve yet to check it out, it’s time. MLS Season Pass is available in the Apple TV app across all major platforms. And if you’re watching on Apple TV hardware, you’ll be able to reap the benefit of Apple’s new multiview implementation, so you can watch more than just Messi on match days.

But why would you want to?

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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