Both Apple and the MLS have a tight deadline to meet before the 2023 season kicks out on February 25. And a recent analysis indicates they’ve already begun to lag.
Earlier this year, Apple and the MLS reached a 2.5 billion contract to broadcast live soccer games on the Apple TV app. Sooner or later, that agreement will need to materialise in visible on-screen form, but it appears that obstacles are beginning to pile up.
The Athletic has a paywall on their report that iMore was able to read, and their sources suggest there are still some technological challenges to be resolved. However, one highly placed insider in the sector has expressed optimism that everything would be ready to go come February.
The Athletic writes that the quickly narrowing timeline might leave plenty of snags on the big day, with the quality of live broadcasts predicted to be worse than hoped. This is true even if Apple manages to have everything ready in time for the big kickoff. At least at first, however I expect things will become better as time goes on.
It’s not really apparent that anybody will even notice if there are issues. Partners who had previously covered the MLS “lacked in production quality,” according to the study. As both businesses smooth out the issues, “MLS and Apple’s product could present as completely good.”
Another person who spoke with The Athletic wasn’t too worried, saying that Apple is just throwing money at the problem as it did with Apple TV+. They just keep putting additional resources at it whenever problems arise, the person said, according to the publication. And those issues vanish in surprisingly short order.
However, there are certain non-technical problems that need fixing. If the proper contracts were in the right hands, Apple could resolve the question of who will host its live games immediately. But those who hope the analysts will take sides will be disappointed, at least at the outset.
Play-by-play talent and colour commentators will share duties to save money at the start of the season, according to the source. “To start, there may be zero or a very restricted number of set teams.”
There will be English and Spanish broadcasts, with certain games also being broadcast in French.
Assuming Apple launches on schedule, it’s quite improbable that the company won’t be able to at least broadcast games. However, it seems likely that the initial weeks may be more challenging than desired for some.
Once the games begin streaming, you’ll be able to watch them on any device that supports the Apple TV app. However, the Apple TV 4K is likely to provide the finest viewing experience.