How MLS and Apple benefit from their multi-year partnership

In 2022, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced a new multi-year partnership with Apple, the technology giant. The partnership aimed to bring together two of the most innovative and dynamic brands in their respective fields.

By Bruno Ivich

This article is part of the Focus Topic of the Month: “Strategic Partnerships”. Chosen by our FBIN Football Network members.

Apple Inc. is a multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Apple has always been a leading technology company that has continued to innovate and introduce new products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Its most powerful asset is its strong admired brand. In recent years, Apple has also placed an increasing emphasis on services, including the App Store, Apple Music, and Apple TV+, as a way to diversify its revenue streams and build recurring revenue. On the other hand, the Major League Soccer (MLS) is a professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. The league was founded in 1993 and the league was intended to provide a platform for professional soccer in the US and Canada and to help develop the sport in these countries. Initially, the league struggled but since the early 2000s, with the introduction of new teams, the construction of soccer-specific stadiums, and the signing of high-profile players, such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry it has grown substantially.

Under the partnership between Major League Soccer, Apple became the Official Smartphone and Tablet of Major League Soccer, with exclusive rights to use MLS trademarks and intellectual property in its marketing and advertising campaigns. Additionally, Apple provided MLS with a range of services and initiatives aimed at enhancing the league’s fan engagement, player development, and performance.

One of the key initiatives of the partnership was the launch of the “MLS App Powered by Apple”. The app aimed to provide MLS fans with an immersive and interactive experience, featuring exclusive content, live streaming, and personalized recommendations based on the user’s preferences and behavior. The partnership also aimed to promote shared values and objectives, such as a commitment to innovation, diversity, and social responsibility. Both MLS and Apple have a strong track record in promoting these values, and the partnership aimed to leverage this expertise to create positive social impact and drive positive change.

The partnership received positive reactions from fans and stakeholders of both MLS and Apple, with many expressing excitement about the potential synergies and benefits of the collaboration.

Furthermore, since 2023, Apple and Major League Soccer have announced a partnership to present all MLS matches for the next 10 years. This means that fans will be able to watch every game, live and on-demand, exclusively on Apple platforms, including Apple TV+, the Apple TV app, and the MLS app. The partnership is said to provide fans with an immersive and interactive viewing experience, with features such as multi-angle camera views and real-time statistics. Additionally, MLS will collaborate with Apple on a range of initiatives, including youth development programs and community outreach efforts.

Overall, this partnership between Apple and MLS is a significant development for the league and for soccer fans in North America, as it offers a new way to consume and engage with MLS content.

Benefits for the Major League Soccer

  • Increased exposure: Partnering with a well-known and widely-used brand like Apple increases MLS’s exposure to a wider audience.
  • Improved fan experience: Apple’s technology and resources improves the fan experience by offering innovative and interactive ways to watch and engage with the sport.
  • Enhanced broadcasting: Apple’s experience in creating and producing high-quality content improves the quality of MLS’ broadcasting efforts.
  • Potential revenue boost: The partnership could provide a much-needed revenue boost for Major League Soccer including monetization opportunities such as advertising, sponsorships, or ticket sales.
  • Improved fan engagement: The partnership could result in new and innovative ways for fans to engage with MLS content, resulting in a more engaged and loyal fanbase.
  • Increased brand recognition: A successful partnership could result in increased brand recognition and visibility for both MLS and Apple, which could help drive growth and expansion for both entities.

Benefits for Apple

  • New revenue streams: Partnering with MLS could provide Apple with new revenue streams through advertising, sponsorships, or subscription-based services.
  • Enhanced content library: MLS’s content, including live matches and behind-the-scenes footage, could help Apple enhance its content library and attract more users to its platforms.
  • Increased brand visibility: Partnering with a popular sports league like Major League Soccer could help Apple increase its brand visibility and reach a wider audience.
  • Innovation opportunities: MLS’s partnership could provide Apple with opportunities to innovate and experiment with new technologies and features.
  • Enhanced user experience: The partnership could lead to new features and enhancements that improve the user experience for MLS fans and Apple users alike.

In general, partnerships are becoming increasingly common in the world of soccer, with leagues and clubs seeking out collaborations with technology companies, media organizations, and other entities. These partnerships can bring several benefits, including increased exposure, improved fan engagement, and new revenue opportunities. Ultimately, the success of any partnership will depend on the execution, alignment of goals, and the ability to deliver value to both parties. Nowadays, both Apple and Major League Soccer are recognized all around the world and the partnership could simply make each entity stronger.


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