As Major League Soccer enters its 28th season, there’s plenty to celebrate: a new expansion club in St. Louis, the newly re-imagined Leagues Cup, and a brand-new subscription service, MLS Season Pass, that launched on the Apple TV app as of Feb. 1.
Here’s everything Canadian soccer fans need to know about the new streaming package.
What is MLS Season Pass?
The season-long subscription service marks the start of a 10-year partnership between Apple and MLS, and offers fans a front-row seat to all things Major League Soccer. Available in more than 100 countries and regions via the Apple TV app, the service is a true season pass, featuring every match, all season long, with no blackouts — a first in live sports broadcasting. In addition to a full season’s worth of matches, fans will also enjoy “enhanced production quality,” thanks to more camera angles, 1080p video and Dolby 5.1 audio.
“We could not be more excited to bring our fans MLS Season Pass, a new home for all MLS matches and a wide variety of league and club content they can’t get anywhere else,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a statement.
To celebrate the start of the 2023 season, which kicks off Saturday, Feb. 25, all 14 matches during “MLS is Back” opening weekend will be available to stream for free.
What’s included with MLS Season Pass?
Every match truly means every match. MLS Season Pass subscribers will receive access to all regular season matches, as well as the 2023 All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and Leagues Cup. The subscription also includes hundreds of MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT games, as the development league enters its sophomore season.
MLS Season Pass will also feature a weekly lineup of original studio programming, including a pregame show, MLS Countdown, a nightly postgame wrap-up, MLS Wrap-up, plus a live NFL RedZone-like “whip-around show” on matchdays called MLS 360 to help ensure fans don’t miss a single goal or highlight.
There’s a growing library of on-demand content available for fans to explore as well, including player profiles (featuring current stars as well as MLS legends like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane), drone tours of select MLS stadiums, full replays of classic matches, plus a collection of documentary-style featurettes highlighting local supporter culture and iconic postseason moments, such as “Kings of the North,” which features Toronto FC stars Jozy Altidore and Víctor Vázquez reflecting on the club’s 2017 MLS Cup run.
Additional club-produced content and highlights will be updated weekly and available via club pages.
How to watch MLS Season Pass
Fans can stream live matches and on-demand content via the Apple TV app on any streaming-enabled device. That includes Apple devices, smart TVs, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and more; you can also watch via web browser at tv.apple.com.
New for the 2023 season, match start times and schedules have been standardized, with matches primarily taking place on Saturdays and Wednesdays, with 7:30 p.m. local start times.
Subscribers can choose to “follow” their favourite clubs in the Apple TV app to receive notifications and scoring updates. Upcoming matches will also be added to your “Up Next” watchlist to help ensure you never miss a minute of the action. (Although if you do tune in late, not to worry: the service offers viewers the ability to join live matches in-progress or restart them from the beginning.)
How much will MLS Season Pass cost?
Subscriptions to MLS Season Pass are currently being offered at $19.99 CAD per month or $129 CAD per season, while Apple TV+ subscribers are eligible for discounted rates of $16.99 CAD per month or $99 CAD per season. Up to six family members can share a subscription using their own Apple ID and password through Family Sharing, and full-season ticket holders will receive a complimentary MLS Season Pass subscription as part of their ticket package.
In addition to the free opening weekend matches, the first month of the 2023 season will feature a rotating lineup of six free matches per week through March 18. Additional free matches will be added throughout the season.
Fans can visit mlssoccer.com/schedule to see the full 2023 schedule, including a list of any upcoming matches currently available to stream for free.
Who will be announcing matches for Apple TV?
The MLS Season Pass broadcast team features a number of well-known Canadian analysts and commentators, including former Canadian national team members Paul Dolan and Greg Sutton, plus veteran broadcasters Vincent Destouches and Olivier Brett.
MLS Season Pass gives fans the option to choose between English- and Spanish-language announcers, while matches involving Canadian teams will also offer play-by-play and commentary in French. Fans in Canada will also have the option to listen to their home team’s radio broadcasts, where available.
“MLS Season Pass will deliver the best viewing experience that MLS fans have ever had, in large part to these incredible announcers, who will be calling the matches and bringing their passion, energy, and know-how for this league, these clubs, and this sport each and every week,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services, in a statement.
MLS and Apple recently revealed the following announcer pairings for the 2023 season:
Jake Zivin and Taylor Twellman
Keith Costigan and Maurice Edu
Kevin Egan and Kyndra de St. Aubin
Steve Cangialosi and Danny Higginbotham
Eric Krakauer and Lloyd Sam
Jenn Hildreth/Chris Wittyngham and Lori Lindsey
Blake Price and Paul Dolan
Max Bretos and Brian Dunseth
Mark Followill/Chris Wittyngham and Danielle Slaton
Andres Cordero and Jamie Watson
Callum Williams and Calen Carr
Tyler Terens and Devon Kerr
Tony Husband and Ross Smith
Mark Rogondino and Heath Pearce
Ed Cohen and Greg Sutton
Adrian Healey and Cobi Jones
Jillian Sakovits and Andrew Wiebe will serve as MLS Countdown and MLS Wrap-Up hosts, while Liam McHugh and Kaylyn Kyle will host MLS 360, joined by former teammates Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips and rules expert Christina Unkel.
Play-by-play announcer Nate Bukaty and analysts Tony Meola and Warren Barton will also be regular members of the broadcast team.
Pablo Ramírez and Carlos Ruiz
Jorge Perez Navarro and Marcelo Balboa
Juan Arango and Carlos Suarez
Sergio Ruiz and Miguel Gallardo
Moisés Linares and Jaime Macías
Bruno Vain and Andrés Agulla
Jose Hernandez and Pablo Mariño
Ramses Sandoval and Walter Roque
Rodolfo Landeros and Martín Zuñiga
Raúl Guzmán and Sonny Guadarrama
Adrian Garcia Marquez and Francisco Pinto
Sammy Sadovnik and Eduardo Biscayart
Tony Cherchi and Stefano Fusaro will host Spanish-language live pre- and postgame coverage, joined by analysts Diego Valeri, Melissa Ortiz, and Chelsea Cabarcas. Francisco X. Rivera and Maximiliano Cordaro will also serve as regular members of the on-air team.
Frederic Lord and Vincent Destouches
Matthew Cullen and Sébastien Le Toux
Olivier Brett and Patrice Bernier
The French broadcast team will also include analyst Matthias Van Halst.