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Messi Just Made Watching Soccer More Expensive

Lionel Messi after making a goal with Miami and Apply TV+ logos

The Take

  • Watching Messi will become way more expensive for viewers thanks to Apple TV+’s MLS Season Pass subscription.
  • still recommends signing up for fuboTV to get the best soccer coverage in the U.S.
  • Don’t sleep on Paramount+ and Peacock for Champions League and Premier League coverage, respectively.

In a huge transfer, soccer superstar and World Cup winner Lionel Messi will be coming to Major League Soccer team Inter Milan this summer.

Apple has exclusive broadcast rights for MLS games through 2032 and offers a subscription—MLS Season Pass—for fans to watch every game. The Athletic reports Messi will “get a piece of MLS and Apple’s broadcast partnership.” Plus, as Apple looks to expand its MLS package internationally, Messi’s arrival could help boost subscription sales.

Apple TV+ already partnered with Messi for a four-part docuseries on the soccer superstar. The series was filmed in Paris, Qatar, and Argentina and went through Argentina’s FIFA World Cup 2022 win. Add that to the soccer content already available to watch, and Apple is shaping up to be a significant player in the soccer broadcasting space.

Watching soccer just got more expensive

Lionel Messi moving to the MLS comes at a great time for Apple TV+. The company made a push into soccer programming following the success of Ted Lasso and even looked at bidding for U.K. Premier League rights earlier this year. But Apple already has MLS Season Pass, which lets viewers watch every MLS match live or on demand for $14.99 monthly or $99.00 each season.

Watching Messi with Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 was possible with beIN SPORTS XTRA which offered games through its free programming. However, if you wanted to watch live, you would’ve needed fuboTV, which would’ve set you back $84.99 monthly. Add to that the UEFA Champions League coverage (where PSG also competed), which is included with fuboTV or available on demand for an additional $4.99 per month with Paramount+.

Sure, the MLS Season Pass is technically cheaper overall, but it’s only Major League Soccer. With Paramount+ or fuboTV, you had access to multiple leagues and matches. And if you’re invested in the Champions League, Premier League, World Cup, or anything else, you’ll have to invest in more subscriptions.

While it’s great that Apple TV+ offers a comprehensive MLS package, soccer fans who have followed Messi for years may want to keep up with Ligue 1, La Liga, and the World Cup and can’t do all of that with Apple TV+.

Soccer fans will find themselves shelling out an extra $99 each season for Major League Soccer to watch Messi play, which helps Apple and Messi but not your wallet. By the way, if you want to watch Messi live and in person, tickets are going for $2,600 a pop. Compare that to Inter Miami’s pre-Messi prices at $26.

We’ll have more on how to watch Messi once his transfer to Inter Miami is complete.

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