Watching FC Cincinnati games on TV will be different in 2023 and beyond. Major League Soccer’s broadcast deal with Apple opens today and I got a brief peak behind the curtain to see how it’ll look.
Cost & Availability
First things first. Apple TV’s MLS package will be available on all Apple devices plus any device where the Apple TV app is downloadable including but not limited to Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Sticks, Rokus, video game consoles, and web browser. The package will include all games in one spot with no blackouts.
The base cost is $14.99 per month or $99 for the season or $12.99/month and $79/season for Apple TV+ subscribers.
Additionally, season ticket holders will get one free subscription along with their tickets, though for people with multiple tickets will still only receive one code. However, with Family Sharing, the Season Pass can be shared with up to five other users.
The first weekend of games will be free, and some games will be in front of the paywall every week throughout the season.
What’s it like?
If you’ve used Apple TV before, MLS Season Pass will feel very familiar. If you haven’t, there will be a tab in the Apple TV app where MLS content will live. You can choose FCC as your favorite team and games and other content will be displayed prominently at the front of the app.
In addition to the games, there already appears to be a variety of content available on day one. Replays of games going back to 2019 will be available, though I’m not sure many FCC fans want to remember most of those.
There are profiles of iconic and current players in the league including featuring Brandon Vazquez. There was also a series called The Ritual looking at supporters’ traditions for teams across the league. For FCC, the best place to start might be with the five minute club profile. Then you can move on to reliving the 2022 season.
Apple and MLS have already announced some of the on-air talent who will be calling games or working in the studio. Notable names include Taylor Twellman, Mo Edu, Brian Dunseth, Sacha Kljestan and others. All broadcasts will be available in English and Spanish and some in French.
The process for announcer assignments has not been finalized but familiarity with certain teams or regions could lead to broadcasters working in certain areas more often. Additionally, local radio broadcasts will be an audio option synchronized with play, though there’s been no announcement from FCC about who, if anyone, will be doing local radio in 2023.
2023 could be looked at as a huge year for the league. Having Apple be the conduit for the league to sell its story could be the turning point where MLS makes it onto the mainstage of professional sports in the US. There are bound to be technical issues at the start, and it will certainly be different than turning into Star64. However, given Apple’s interest in creating a quality viewing product for other sports, MLS should have a good home on the platform for years to come.