Apple is taking a big step into a field that, until recently, was still unknown to it: sport. The manufacturer of the iPhone announced on Tuesday June 14 that it had acquired the rights to the United States football championship for ten years. The Major League Soccer (MLS) competition is certainly less prestigious across the Atlantic than its American football counterpart (NFL), but the Cupertino (California) firm will be, from 2023, the exclusive distributor of all matches, in the whole world. The duration of the “deal” is also particularly long. This is one more sign of the increasingly pressing offensive of the digital giants in sport.
To see the matches of the American championship, fans will have to pay an additional subscription, the price and terms of which will not be specified before ” some months “. But ” a selection ” dating, as well as commentary programs or highlights, will be available to current subscribers of Apple TV+, the device and software maker’s video service. Finally, some matches can be watched ” free “. Access to the full service will also be included in the annual subscriptions to see the matches in the stadiums over an entire season, specifies the firm at the apple.
Amazon, a pioneer
“Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between clubs and fans,” championship manager Don Garber said in a statement. The MLS does not have the sporting prestige of the major European championships and often welcomes players at the end of their career, such as David Beckham, Gonzalo Higuain, Frank Lampard. But, specifies the group of Tim Cook, its notoriety increases gradually, in the world and in the United States. Above all, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
With this agreement, the Californian company is taking a step forward in sport: so far, Apple TV + had above all announced, at the beginning of March, that it had acquired the rights to two matches of the very popular United States baseball championship, broadcast on Fridays. . The service offer was previously mainly focused on series and films. With a few forays into talk shows and entertainment like the Oprah Winfrey show.
Apple’s move confirms the growing grip of the dominant digital players on sport. Amazon is a pioneer, notably with Ligue 1 football in France, as well as numerous tennis tournaments, including Roland Garros. In the United States, its Prime Video service has also offered for ten years the Thursday evening matches of the American football championship, for an estimated amount of 1.2 billion dollars (1.152 billion euros) per season. In the United Kingdom, Amazon also broadcasts 20 matches of the football championship, over two days, as well as the US Open tennis. In Germany and Italy, it broadcasts one match per day of the Football Champions League and matches of the national Bundesliga.
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