Apple building ‘advertising network for live television’ as part of new MLS deal

Apple building ‘advertising network for live television’ as part of new MLS deal

Back in June, Apple announced a deal with Major League Soccer to stream all games exclusively via the Apple TV application. While we’re still waiting for more official details on this partnership, a new report from Bloomberg indicates that Apple is “building an advertising network for live television” as part of the MLS deal.

When Apple announced its 10-year MLS deal in June, the company explained that customers will need to sign up for a separate subscription to watch the games. This differs from the strategy Apple has used (so far) with its MLB Friday Night Baseball partnership.

According to Bloomberg’s report today, Apple’s new live TV advertising efforts are being spearheaded by Todd Teresi, the company’s vice president of advertising platforms. The gist of the report is that Apple is working closely with advertising partners as well as MLS sponsors ahead of the MLS partnership launching to the public in February.

Apple is reportedly planning to run ads in the three different tiers of the MLS offering. This includes games streamed for all users for free, games offered to TV+ subscribers, and those users subscribed to the dedicated MLS package:

The company is holding discussions with advertising partners and MLS sponsors in advance of the launch next February about airing advertisements during soccer games and related shows, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Apple is planning to run advertising in all three tiers of the partnership: the dedicated package, paid TV+ subscriptions and the free TV app. The move represents an expansion of the company’s early live TV advertising, which is included in Major League Baseball games that already air on TV+.

A report from The Athletic explained last month that Apple has ambitious plans for its MLS partnership. It’s a notable move for Apple as the deal makes the Apple TV app the only place to watch all Major League Soccer games, with no regional blackouts or restrictions.

The Athletic report explained that Apple and the MLS are running “months behind” in getting things ready ahead of the first MLS match of 2023 on February 25. The report suggests MLS may have to pare back some of its premium technical quality goals, at least for the beginning 2023 season, as it simply won’t be ready in time. 

Apple is also one of the frontrunners to acquire the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. Advertising will also play a crucial role in this package, if Apple ultimately secures the rights.

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