American football isn’t the only football that found a new digital home in 2023 (NFL Sunday Ticket has made the leap to YouTube and YouTube TV). MLS — that’s Major League Soccer — moves to a new online home with MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
That doesn’t mean that Apple is the only way to watch any of the top flight of processional soccer in the U.S. And there’s a bit of explaining to do when it comes to precisely where and how you can watch. But the short version is that Apple seems like a pretty good home for the most popular sport in the world, and one that continues to grow by leaps and bounds in America.
Let’s get into it.
What is MLS Season Pass
First, we need to define a few terms here. MLS Season Pass is pretty much what it sounds like — every game this season, plus the playoffs, streaming on your favorite device. There aren’t any blackouts, and you’re able to share your subscription with others in your family.
The streaming will be done via the Apple TV app. That’s different than Apple TV (the little hardware box), and Apple TV+ (the premium content network with shows like Ted Lasso, Severance, and Shrinking). More on that below, but basically, if you can get online, you can get the Apple TV app. And that means you can get MLS Season Pass.
MLS Pass is about the games, of course. But it also goes deeper. There’s advanced coverage of every team, so you can dive deep into your favorite club (or your bitter rival if that’s how you roll). There’s news. There are highlights. There will be interviews. There are player features.
And, of course, there will be games and replays.
And as a way to attract more subscribers, not every match will require an MLS Season Pass subscription. Some will be available for free. That includes every match from the first week of competition, but there will be other freebies throughout the season.
How much does MLS Season Pass cost?
The pricing breakdown for MLS Season Pass is pretty simple.
- $15 a month or $100 a season if you’re not a subscriber to Apple TV+
- $13 a month or $80 a season if you subscribe to Apple TV+
One other thing — if you have a season ticket account with an MLS team, you’ll get a free subscription to MLS Season Pass.
Do you have to have an Apple device to watch?
Even though Apple is the rights-holder for streaming MLS games, you don’t actually have to own an Apple device to watch. That’s because Apple TV (the streaming app) is available on pretty much every modern media device. That means things like iPhones and iPads, of course, but also Roku and Amazon Fire TV, which remain the two most popular streaming platforms. You also can get the Apple TV app on Android TV and Google TV, on PlayStation and Xbox, on various smart TV systems, and on Comcast Xfinity and other set-top boxes.
If for some reason none of that works for you, Apple TV also is available in a web browser at tv.apple.com.
You will, though, need to rig up an Apple ID, because that’s what the subscription will run through.
Is MLS Season Pass available in 4K?
Nope. You’re not going to have the option to watch MLS Season Pass in 4K resolution. It’ll top out at 1080p.
While that’s a little disappointing on paper — we’ve very much enjoyed other sports in 4K resolution, even though it’s all upscaled — it’s also not a deal breaker. A good 1080p feed at 60 frames per second is just fine for live sports. And we’ll take a minimally compressed 1080p feed over a
One other technical tidbit is that the matches also will be available with 5.1 surround sound. You’ll need a speaker setup that can support all those channels of course — that’s front-right-center, two rears, and a subwoofer. But a basic soundbar setup can handle that just fine.
What other shows are on MLS Season Pass?
MLS matches are just part of what you’ll get with MLS Season Pass in terms of the games themselves. A subscription also gets you access to MLS Next and MLS Next Pro. Those are two developmental leagues that are meant to identify and filter players up through the MLS system.
MLS Next involves teams from Under-13 to Under-19 — basically high school-age players. MLS Next Pro is a little newer and features 28 teams and aims to be a Division III pro league, a step down from the USL Championship. That’s the live soccer, though. There also will be a fair amount of shows bookending the games themselves.
MLS Countdown is the exact sort of pre-game show you’d expect, with predictions and analysis and a look at what’s to come week after week. And after the tame is MLS Wrap-Up, with live post-game commentary. It’ll be a long day for Jillian Sakovits and Andrew Wiebe, who will lead both English-version shows, along with analysts Nigel Reo-Coker, Calen Carr, Shep Messing, and Matt Doyle.
MLS 360 is what’s called a “whip-around” show and “will provide live look-ins from every match, and feature every goal, penalty kick, and big save, as well as analysis and discussion.” Unlike NFL RedZone, soccer doesn’t quite lend itself to peeking in the same sort of way, since scoring opportunities aren’t as predictable. But it should be close enough to happening in real time to work. It’ll be led by Liam McHugh and Kaylyn Kyle, alongside Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips. They’ll all be joined by rules expert Christina Unkel.
MLS Season Pass schedule
The MLS season is a long one, running from spring to late fall. Here’s a look at the next two weeks of matches. The February 25-26 matches and many of the March 4 matches are all available for free on MLS Season Pass, even if you don’t yet have a subscription. All times are Eastern.
Saturday, February 25
- NYCFC at Nashville, 4:30 p.m. (Also on Fox)
- San Jose at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
- New England at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.
- Houston at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
- Toronto at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
- Montreal at Miami FC, 7:30 p.m.
- New York Red Bulls at Orlando, 7:30 p.m.
- Columbus at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
- St. Louis at Austin, 8:30 p.m.
- Minnesota at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
- LAFC at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m.
- Kansas City at Portland, 10:30 p.m.
- Real Salt Lake at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 26
- Colorado at Seattle, 8 p.m. (Also on FS1)
Saturday, March 4
- Portland at LAFC, 4:30 p.m. (also on Fox)
- Toronto at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
- D.C. United at Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
- Philadelphia at Miami 7:30 p.m.
- Houston at New England, 7:30 p.m.
- Nashville at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
- Cincinnati at Orlando, 7:30 p.m.
- Montreal at Austin, 8:30 p.m.
- NYCFC at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
- L.A. Galaxy at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
- Charlotte at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.
- Kansas City at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
- Vancouver at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
- Real Salt Lake at Seattle, 10:30 p.m.
Where else can you watch MLS games?
It’s worth noting that you won’t have to go an entire season without seeing an MLS game if you don’t have MLS Season Pass. Some matches will still be broadcast by channels like Fox and FS1. That includes the season-opener between Nashville and NYCFC on February 25 (you can watch it on Fox), and Seattle against Colorado on February 26, which is on FS1.
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