It’s official – Lionel Messi is an Inter Miami player. David Beckham’s MLS outfit unveiled the Argentinian superstar this weekend. His signing is undoubtedly a coup for the league, which in recent weeks has watched various stars be wooed by unthinkable sums of money from the Saudi Pro League. Another outfit benefiting from Messi’s arrival is Apple.
Apple has exclusive rights to MLS games for a decade. Every game is available through its TV app. A standard subscription does not include a Season Pass. Instead, it costs $12.99 per month or $39 per season. Buying it is obviously a lot more compelling now that it allows you to watch the GOAT every week.
And those clever Apple marketing types were not going to miss out. I got a notification on my iPhone telling me I could watch Messi’s arrival live through the TV app. (Watch the event back here.) Unsurprisingly, his face is now plastered across every bit of Season Pass promo material. Indeed, there are reports Messi is getting a cut of the subscriptions as part of his deal.
Much of this was discussed on the latest episode of TV+ Talk, a monthly show I do alongside Chuck Joiner:
There are streaming options that allow you to watch Cristiano Ronaldo and co. in the Saudi Pro League. However, it does not really seem to have caught on so far, at least not in the UK. However, there are plenty of users who use the Apple TV app already, making buying an MLS Season Pass much more straightforward. Indeed, some games are available for Apple TV+ subscribers for free. (It wouldn’t surprise me if Messi’s Inter Miami debut is one of those.)
Bluntly, football fans around the world do not really hold the MLS in high regard. In my opinion, Apple took a bit of a gamble associating itself so closely with the competition. Thanks to the arrival of Lionel Messi, that gamble might just pay off.