I just got a look at how Apple's MLS Season Pass will look, and I have to say I'm impressed. With its bright layout that's full of gorgeous photos of stadiums and action from the beautiful game, it feels like Apple's truly got a winner here.
Part of this stems from how easy it will all be. As someone who's written tons about how to find certain sports broadcasts, and has seen how hard it is to watch sports online — most regional sports networks are stuck on DirecTV Stream or FuboTV — Apple's take on this is refreshing.
For a monthly (or season-long fee), starting at $12.99 per month for Apple TV Plus members, you'll be able to get all of Major League Soccer, in more than 100 countries and regions. And, yes, you will get all of your local team games, even if there's a local network that has them.
You can't get a comprehensive package like that anywhere else, not with the NBA's League Pass or NFL Game Pass. And the MLB.TV website has so much fine print about blackout restrictions that you'd think you were signing up for a credit card.
And this being Apple, MLS Season Pass is organized in a really clean way — and it's all in the Apple TV app. Oh, and that app isn't just on Apple devices. Yes, the Apple TV app lives on the Apple TV 4K, iPhones, Macs and iPads, but it's also on the PS4 and PS5, Xbox consoles, Rokus, Smart TVs, Fire TVs — basically, all the best streaming devices.
As I was shown at a private demo, users will see the interface change based on the teams they select to follow, with their teams moving up in the sections that sort by conference.
Clicking into a team hub, you see your team's stadium (perfect for the homesick fans), and you'll see their schedule of upcoming games. Team pages will have highlights, past matches and other content between two to 30 minutes profiling players and events.
MLS Season Pass launches today (Feb. 1), but games begin on February 25. Each game will have a button so you can add to the Up Next queue, and you'll get reminders about games across devices, even on the Apple Watch.
I didn't see any footage, but I was pleased to hear that those tuning in live won't have to start at the live moment, and can begin at the start or skim around.
MLS Season Pass price
MLS fans who are new to the Apple TV Plus world can get MLS Season Pass for $14.99 / £14.99 / AU $22.99 per month or $99 / £99 / AU $149 per season, while Apple TV Plus subscribers will be offered a special rate of $12.99 / £12.99 / AU $19.99 per month or $79 / £79 / AU $119 per season.
You can share your MLS Season Pass with up to six family members using Apple's Family Sharing, provided each has their own Apple ID and password.
MLS Season Pass content
In addition to every live game with postgame wrap-up coverage, fans will get both English and Spanish commentary options; games with Canadian teams will also include a French commentary option.
Audiences in the US and Canada will get an extra audio option, so they can pipe in their home team's radio if they so choose.
MLS Season Pass also includes tons of on-demand programming, such as the MLS Review show, a "best of" series with highlights, and Club Profiles specials to get you more familiar with teams. The Ritual series will let you learn the stuff that die-hard fans know and love about their team, Iconic Players explains the league's stars and other shows include the self-explanatory Playoff Moments and Drone Tours.
Outlook: Apple TV Plus' MLS Season Pass looks great because little is missing
I'm no MLS fan, but I feel like I'd be pretty happy with this package were I one of them. Of course, a team-specific season pass would be a great option — at a price tier lower than $99 for a whole season would be great.
As noted, I didn't get a chance to watch any games — none have been played under Apple's broadcasting yet, of course — but I think Apple will probably apply lessons it's learned from broadcasting Friday Night Baseball. For example, Apple announced a ton of experienced veterans of sports broadcasting and the league who will be providing analysis and play-by-play and hosting its shows, which will hopefully make MLS Season Pass an even bigger hit.
All said, Apple's drawn up a seriously compelling blueprint for how sports streaming should be. Fans will give their opinions once games go live on February 25, though.
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Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.