MLS Season Pass breaks viewership records with Lionel Messi debut

Apple today announced that it had its 3 most-watched matches ever on MLS Season Pass in the past week, between July 19 – July 26.

Although Apple did not specifically attribute the growth in viewership to anything in particular, the timing is obvious: last week saw the arrival of football superstar Lionel Messi join Inter Miami, with his MLS debut taking place on Friday, July 21.

Messi has played twice so far in the MLS, on Friday against Cruz Azul and last night against Atlanta United, leading his team to victory both times.

Interestingly, Apple noted it had its 3 most-watched matches ever, which means a non-Messi match must be included in that, perhaps a good indicator that the MLS as a whole is garnering a wider audience, not just Inter Miami games.

Additionally, Apple said that across those 3 matches, viewers were evenly split between the English and Spanish broadcasts. As a reminder, MLS Season Pass broadcasts all games with separate English and Spanish language streams, plus a French-language stream for any game involving a Canadian team.

As usual, Apple declines to release exact subscriber numbers and official viewing figures for its video streaming services. A report from earlier this week said MLS Season Pass was approaching the 1 million subscriber mark, notably hitting that milestone before Messi’s arrival.

As part of a ten-year deal between MLS and Apple, the Apple TV app is the exclusive streaming home of all Major League Soccer regular season matches, Leagues Cup matches and more. MLS Season Pass is available in more than 100 countries, streaming all matches with no blackouts or geographic restrictions. Apple reportedly pays around $250 million annually for the rights.

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