MLS and Apple agree to landmark global rights deal

The United States’ premier football competition Major League Soccer (MLS) has found a new broadcasting home from next season and beyond with technology giants Apple.

Making their first foray into live football broadcasting, Apple have struck a long-term global partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) worth a reported US$250 million ($360 million AUD) per year.

After moving for a package of Major League Baseball, Apple has made their biggest sports rights acquisition to date by signing a 10-year partnership with MLS to show all matches across the world via the Apple TV streaming platform.

The agreement runs through until the end of the 2032 campaign and will see every match offered through a new MLS-dedicated subscription streaming service available exclusively through the Apple TV app. The over-the-top (OTT) offering will also include a weekly live whiparound show, full-match replays, highlights, analysis, and other original programming. A number of MLS Next Pro and MLS Next developmental tier matches will also be on the platform.

A broad selection of MLS and Leagues Cup matches, including some of the biggest matchups, will also be available at no additional cost to Apple TV+ subscribers, with a limited number of matches available for free. Access to the new MLS streaming service will also be included as part of full-season ticket packages.

According to the Sports Business Journal (SBJ), MLS is also negotiating with ESPN and Fox around a linear domestic package of non-exclusive matches. In addition, SBJ report that Apple is not paying a straight fee, with the US$250 million per year figure being a minimum annual guarantee that will be topped up with revenue as Apple sell subscriptions for the streaming service.

MLS commissioner Don Garber believes that Apple TV will provide the catalyst for the ever-improving competition to grow even further.

“This (partnership) sort of seems like a bit of the icing on the cake,” Garber told the PA news agency.

“We really have been very focused on building a league that we all can be proud of, that could become one of the top leagues in the world, that could show fans here and globally that America, North America, are soccer markets.

“And now with a global opportunity to build a fan base with the leader in global product and global technology and global innovation, it’s going to allow us to expand beyond our borders.

“This gives us the ability to participate not only in the global market for players but on the global market for fans, and that any game, anytime, anywhere without restrictions really is the rocket fuel that’s going to get us to that point.

“So, it is the perfect sort of end to the previous beginning and gives us a new sort of journey towards the World Cup and beyond.”

Garber said MLS is “very pleased with the financials” of a deal that, among other things, will allow for an improved schedule, better quality broadcasts and see season ticket holders at the clubs receive a subscription.

This is just Apple’s second rights deal for live sports, having acquired a package with Major League Baseball in March, but they have achieved great success in football with their comedy-drama Ted Lasso.

Melbourne Knights confirm innovative alliance with ProTrainUp

Melbourne Knights Football Club has confirmed a new partnership with leading football management software company, ProTrainUp.

This collaboration is set to enhance communication and streamline operations with the Club, marking a significant step forward in the commitment to excellence and growth.

Founded in 2013, ProTrainUp is a club management system fuelled by data driven technology, created by and for the football community. ProTrainUp combines quantitative and qualitative data to enhance club operations for both staff and participants, enabling the Club to:

  1. Enhance communication between club staff and players with built-in public and private messaging services.
  2. Simplify the organization and delivery of training sessions using plans and sessions provided by top international federations and clubs, available only through ProTrainUp.
  3. Maintain an up-to-date calendar of training sessions and matches.
  4. Gather data and statistics on players to create detailed reports on individual player development and overall team progress.

ProTrainUp is a system used by clubs around the world including European clubs such as Dinamo Zagreb FC and FC Porto, highlighting its importance in modern football.

The main objective of this partnership is to enhance communication among club staff, players, and parents.

ProTrainUp’s advanced software will deliver a centralised platform for efficient and effective communication, guaranteeing that all members of the Melbourne Knights community stay well-informed and engaged.

The system is accessible both online and through the app, allowing players and parents to enable push notifications so they never miss important Club updates.

The partnership will play a huge role in upskilling the juniors program in 2025, a huge focus that President Simon Pincic spoke about in length in his exclusive interview with Soccerscene.

The Knights will leverage ProTrainUp’s comprehensive tools for training management, performance tracking, and development planning to ‘provide the juniors with the best possible environment to grow and succeed’ as per their statement.

This will help more than just the junior players however with ProTrainUp, the coaches will benefit from this technology with seamless tracking of player progress, and enhanced training experiences, all contributing to the overall development of the junior players.

The club spoke about the future of their management through this advanced technology system.

“We look forward to a successful partnership and are excited about the positive impact it will have on our Club and community. Together with ProTrainUp, we are committed to building a stronger, more connected, and highly effective football club,” Knights said in a club statement.

This is an excellent and innovative partnership by the Knights that sees them advance forward in the development of technology.

The Knights have been vocal about the importance of junior development and have historically been one of Australia’s most successful clubs at creating stars from their system, with ProTrainUp only advancing that cause.

Football NSW to gain more traction through established sponsor

Football NSW have confirmed a collaboration with the technology advertising platform Nine Ad Manager, as a new primary sponsor for 2024.

Nine Ad Manager falls under the Nine network umbrella, acting as an versatile platform in which Australian businesses are able to utilise in generating traction amongst a specific target audience.

Advertising can be reached through audiences across each of the Nine Networks main television channels including 9Now and the 9 on-demand streaming television service.

Television advertisement campaigns created and submitted to the Nine Ad Manager service, are strategically aired at times in which relates to the product featured within the advertisement.

Performance of the advertisements effectiveness can be analysed through the amount of traffic the business is providing the advertisement as it becomes accustomed too.

The manager platform can assist businesses regardless of stature and status, to access mainstream television advertising opportunity for the Nine Network.

Small and medium sized businesses have the capacity to advertise their respective businesses throughout peak television times for an affordable cost.

Having partnered with FNSW, the sole intention of the newly founded cooperation is to give back to the state community, recognising and showcasing the importance upon community football teams that participate across the state.

As disclosed upon the FNSW website, Head of Nine Ad Manager Todd Fisher discussed the importance of the newly founded partnership said via press release.

“This partnership allows us to support the vibrant sporting communities that are at the heart of local culture and community building. Nine Ad Manager’s core mission is to empower small businesses, enabling them to be seen, heard, and remembered in their local areas and achieve business growth. By partnering with Football NSW, we not only champion local football but also the small businesses and communities that surround them.”

Football NSW CEO John Tsatsimas added his excitement for the partnership via press release.

“Football NSW welcomes Nine Ad Manager to the family and we look forward to establishing a strong working relationship with them over the next 12 months.”

A fresh new look on the back of each of FNSWs State Team jerseys in 2024, with The Nine Ad Manager logo to feature prominently beneath the player’s number.

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