Apple TV is already feeling the Lionel Messi effect as MLS viewership soars

Lionel Messi's arrival in the MLS is already making waves with fans but it's also giving Apple an instant return on its investment via MLS Season Pass.

1 minute & 10 seconds read time

You'd need to have been living under a rock to have missed the fact that superstar athlete Lionel Messi is now plying his trade in the MLS. He's only played two games so far, but it looks like Apple is already benefiting from his presence as viewing figures have spiked in the last week.

Apple famously paid $2.5 billion to get in on the MLS streaming rights for the next decade, with MLS Season Pass being the result. It's available via the Apple TV app and is of course a subscription service, although those who already pay for Apple TV+ do at least get a discount. Messi even gets a cut of that money as part of the deal that saw him ditch European football in Paris and it looks like the deal is already proving to be mutually beneficial.

While Apple doesn't share specific figures, it has confirmed that the last week has been a bumper one in terms of viewership. In a statement given to The Verge, Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr confirmed that the week running from July 19 to July 26 saw the three most-watched matches ever on MLS Season Pass. The statement went on to say that viewers watched from almost 100 countries and regions around the globe with those viewers roughly split between English and Spanish broadcasts.

Apple and Messi will no doubt hope that the trend continues and if the early signs are anything to go by we can probably expect that to be the case. Messi is far from the only big name in the MLS right now of course and the league has become something of a go-to for big-name stars in the twilight of their glittering careers.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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