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Apple to keep silence on MLS Season Pass viewing numbers

Season Pass reportedly has seen huge hike in numbers after Messi’s arrival

Apple, the tech giant, continues to withhold official viewership numbers for its MLS Season Pass. This comes after the company signed a 10-year deal to become the media home of Major League Soccer (MLS), with the agreement taking effect from 2023. Despite being in operation for over a year now, Apple has yet to release any statistics regarding its streaming service.

Many speculated that Apple might be slow to release these figures during their first season due to data gathering needs. However, even after a year since the inception of MLS Season Pass, we are still awaiting official numbers.

The 2024 MLS season has commenced with Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake match to kick off season. This opportunity was given due to Lionel Messi's influence who joined Miami last July and only played six top-flight matches with them. The 2024 campaign marks his first full season in America.

Apple’s officials accept Messi’s magic has changed the market

In a recent interview, Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President spoke about Messi’s positive impact on MLS Season Pass subscriptions but refrained from revealing any concrete information regarding viewership statistics of this streaming service.

Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President, said:

“I won’t give you the exact number, but pre-Messi it was very U.S. dominant. Post-Messi, it changed materially,”

“He had a significant number of subscribers from South America and Europe. So, it was a big change.”

During this discussion, Don Garber - Commissioner of MLS - stated that international attention towards the league is surpassing domestic interest primarily because of Messi's involvement. However, he also acknowledged that they need to prepare for an eventual departure by Messi from the league.

Apple’s resistance can create doubts with other platforms flexing

Apple and MLS are relying heavily on Messi's star power to attract subscribers for their streaming service; however their reluctance in disclosing viewership statistics raises concerns among fans and stakeholders alike. In contrast other sports streaming services like ESPN+, Paramount+, and Peacock regularly share subscription figures as well as game-by-game viewership stats throughout each year.

Apple seems determined not disclose these numbers likely out of fear of comparison with other sports streaming services. This lack of transparency suggests that the viewership numbers might not be up to expectations. After all, if the viewership were extremely high, companies would certainly want people to know about it.

While Apple's silence on MLS Season Pass viewing numbers continues to raise eyebrows, fans and stakeholders are left in anticipation. The 'Messi effect' is undeniably a significant factor for international interest in MLS; however, without concrete data on viewership figures, its actual impact remains a mystery. As we move further into the 2024 season, it will be interesting to see whether Apple breaks its silence or continues its current strategy.

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