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Yep, Messi has made MLS Season Pass even more popular

A Lionel Messi promo for MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

If for some reason you had any doubt as to whether Lionel Messi joining Inter Miami has helped Major League Soccer overall, and Apple’s MLS Season Pass streaming service in particular, the answer is a resounding yes.

Apple today announced that the three most-viewed matches on MLS Season Pass came between July 19 and July 26. While it didn’t give any better fidelity than that (and hasn’t all season), it did say that the broadcasts were “roughly split” between the English and Spanish options.

Messi joined MLS in the midst of the Leagues Cup, which pits clubs from MLS against clubs from Mexico’s Liga MX. And he immediately had an impact, scoring the winning goal on a free kick in the final minutes of a 2-1 win over Cruz Azul on July 21. Just four days later, he scored twice in a 4-0 shellacking of Atlanta United. Up next is a knockout-round match against an opponent still to be determined on August 1.

MLS Season Pass is the subscription service you’ll need if you want to watch any and all MLS games the second half of the season (yes, a few are on Fox). Matches are available in the Apple TV app on all platforms, including non-Apple hardware. It also doesn’t require a subscription to Apple TV+, which is Apple’s own original content streaming service. If you do have Apple TV+, though, you can get the rest of the 2023 MLS season for $13 a month, or $39 total (non-Apple TV+ folks will pay $15 a month or $50 for the rest of the season).

MLS Season Pass on Apple TV has been a big deal for a few reasons. First is that soccer (futbol!) is the biggest sport in the world, and it continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. Second is that live sports is hard (just ask Netflix), and it was a huge question mark as to whether Apple would be able to do as good a job as ESPN and ESPN+ had done before losing the broadcast rights. And third, because MLS Season Pass launched in a year that will see an even bigger switch when NFL Sunday Ticket makes the leap from DirecTV to YouTube TV in the fall.

Apple’s done good so far, and that was before Messi entered the picture. Expect great things in the back half of the season.

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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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