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What sets the Major League Soccer, Apple streaming deal apart

Major League Soccer executive vice president of media Seth Bacon told Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal that the league's streaming deal with Apple (AAPL) "set the bar at a different level for people to think about how you do a partnership with a media company."

Yahoo Finance Reporters Pras Subramanian, Alexandra Canal, and Josh Schafer join the Live show to discuss what makes the MLS and Apple agreement different from other sports streaming deals.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Editor's note: This article was written by Stephanie Mikulich.

Video Transcript

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I've been looking at the future of Major League Soccer's deal with Apple TV. The league's latest season kicked off last week. And it got me thinking about the current fragmentation of sports rights.

So, basically, guys, unlike other sports, like the NFL where you need to sign up for multiple streamers, have a cable package just to watch the full season. You don't have to do that with the MLS. They consolidated all of their media rights a few years before they renegotiated their contract.

They wanted one true partner. And they found that in Apple. It was also attractive to Apple as well because they didn't have to have competitors in the mix. They could have full control over the distribution of these games.

And there's a lot of people out there that are thinking that this could have a big boon when you think about the Vision Pro headset and the opportunities there. I did have a chance to speak with Seth Bacon. He is the executive vice president of media for the MLS.

And he said that this is something that is working. They're seeing this partnership lead to an increase of viewership numbers and increase of signups to Apple TV. But I don't know if you could see this with other types of players like the NFL, for example. I feel like you're going to always have--

JOSH SCHAFER: The NFL might be too big, right?


JOSH SCHAFER: And you're never going to get one sole partner when you think about the fact that one big tech company pays $1 billion for 15 games a year. Think about how much you would have to pay to have every NFL game. I think at some point, maybe it's just inconceivable just from that standpoint of like how much NFL rights are worth.

But you're. Right for MLS, it made a ton of sense. It's a league that wants to grow, a league that's looking for a consistent place for people to find them. I think sometimes when you're on some of these local sports networks, it's useful, but also, sometimes people don't really know where to find those.

Not everyone still has traditional cable. Right now, you could make the argument that, oh, they're on Apple plus. That's hard. I have to pay for Apple plus, et cetera.

But at least where to get it. MLS is on Apple TV plus. There's one place to go. And I think that's helpful for consumers from that standpoint.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: But it's $12.99 a month. It's yet another thing to add to your collection of streaming services. And you really got to be a big MLS fan if you want to do this.

And I was a casual fan. And I feel like it's a bit too much money for a casual fan to get involved. I want to follow NYCFC and not so much the Red Bulls, et cetera.

But that's sort of the equation you got to do here with this service. But I think you're right. I think it's a great service with the collect all of it in one spot.

And you mentioned the Vision Pro. Maybe there's a good use case there for someone who has this, someone who's a fan. I don't know. It's maybe a more interactive or more dynamic way to watch the content.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah. And Apple's also producing a docuseries. Sort of similar like we've seen with Formula One, Drive to Survive. So potentially that could add more fans.

And I also think Lionel Messi coming to the MLS was huge for not only the league, but also for Apple and driving a lot of viewership.

JOSH SCHAFER: I'm excited to see what goes on the Vision Pro from a sports perspective. If they can put you in a moment--

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I mean, it's a 10-year deal.

JOSH SCHAFER: --that's the kind of thing that you don't really get right now. And you would think that's where these headsets are going. So it'll be interesting to see what happens with that.