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Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 2023 season brought with it perhaps the biggest change in the competition’s 28-year history.
The industry will be watching on with interest as North America’s premier soccer league embarks on the first year of its partnership with Apple, which last year made by far its most significant sports rights investment to date by securing a global streaming deal with MLS for the next ten years.
New four-year agreements with Fox Sports, Univision, TSN and RDS ensure that the league will continue to have a limited presence on linear television, but Apple’s US$2.5 billion deal means the tech giant’s Apple TV streaming service will be the only place to watch every MLS game starting this season.
Also new for 2023 was a female-owned franchise in St Louis, while the coming months should also provide some answers regarding the identity of MLS’s 30th team. Commissioner Don Garber revealed in February that Las Vegas and San Diego are the frontrunners to secure what could be the competition’s final expansion slot and said that the league is aiming to make an announcement “by the end of the year”.