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Rik Henderson

Premier League has a lot to learn from MLS on Apple TV, claims star

MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

Apple is well underway with its coverage of the Major League Soccer season in the US, but it feels like it's ramping up and more eyes are on it than ever.

Not only are we roughly a third in, with teams battling to reach the playoffs in October, but the announcement that Lionel Messi is joining Inter Miami has caught the attention of the entire world. Add the fact that the MLS All-Stars vs Arsenal match will take place on 20 July 2023 and there's never been a better time to check out what the league is all about.

It certainly makes the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV all the more interesting - as T3 found out when we spent some time with TV hosts and former MLS stars, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Taylor Twellman.

Having played for New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution respectively, they know a thing or two about the league's formative years and rapid expansion into a worldwide spectacle.

The recently-signed 10-year Apple broadcast deal certainly helps, having standardised kickoff times and structure. Indeed, it's something that Twellman believes the English Premier League could well learn lessons from.

Hosts of Apple's MLS Season Pass coverage: Bradley Wright-Phillips and Taylor Twellman (Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

"You claim to be, rightfully so, the biggest league in the world, but your fans, at some point, are going to be exhausted trying to find it," he told us from Apple's new UK headquarters in Battersea Power Station.

"I cannot believe the Premier League fan in England cannot watch every game when Bradley and I can watch any game we want. That is unfathomable to me in this day and age - in 2023."

Not only can you watch every game of the MLS season live on Apple and other brands' devices through the Apple TV app, including a whole host of other content presented by Wright-Phillips, Twellman and the rest of the team, but the MLS Season Pass has recently added multiscreen functionality too. You can watch up to four matches at a time and switch between their audio.

Imagine being able to do this with the Premier League, EFL or cup competitions in England and Europe?

Instead, we have some matches on Sky Sports, some on BT Sport (soon to be renamed TNT Sports), and some on Amazon Prime Video. And, even then, not everything is broadcast live - at least half the matches each week are only available post-match or in highlights packages.

Is the MLS Season Pass the future for sports TV?

The MLS Season Pass is therefore being viewed as a trailblazer for the future of sports coverage, not only to get eyes on the "fastest growing soccer league in the world".

"I think every league in America over the last four or five months has seen MLS Season Pass on Apple and gone 'wait a minute'." added Twellman.

"The NBA is the biggest rights deal coming up right now, and they are an international league. And you guys know this, as much as the Premier League is, the NBA is there. There's no way the NBA looks at this and doesn't go, 'Holy crap, this is insane. We can have one media partner, we can literally have everything there.'

"If you're an MLS fan, you don't have to go anywhere anymore. And that's why I think everyone around North America thinks that this thing is different."

Let's hope the Premier League is watching too.

The MLS Season Pass is available through the Apple TV app on multiple devices and smart TVs, including Apple's own Apple TV 4K, iPhone and iPad. It costs £14.99 per month, £99 for a whole year's subscription in the UK.

Apple TV+ members get a discount, with it costing £12.99 per month. Considering the season is underway already, you can now also get it reduced further, with a special offer of £49 for the whole season, £39 for TV+ subscribers.

There are free matches broadcast on the platform too, so you can always check those out first.

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