Further details have been revealed surrounding the production plans for the debut season of the partnership between the Major League Soccer (MLS) and Apple.
As part of the 10-year US $2.5bn broadcasting deal between the two, Apple TV+ will show every playoff match live to a global audience starting from Feb 25 in collaboration with media companies IMG and NEP, with MLS taking over the production role.
The deal promises to bring higher broadcasting quality and utilise Apple’s technologies to scale the viewing experience.
All matches from the MLS, Leagues Cup, Next Pro, and MLS Next competitions will be broadcast for the public and produced in-house, using high-tech optimisation and a large number of cameras. The broadcast will be mainly in English and Spanish. Other segments are also provided for such as interviews and analysis.
Barney Francis, IMG Productions Executive President and Head of Global Production, said: “Being chosen for this large-scale production is a testament to our industry-leading experience, expertise, and excellence in producing live soccer matches for audiences around the world.
“It also marks an important milestone in the global expansion of IMG’s production business with the launch of our new base in North America.”
Apple also outlined that the picture and audio quality will be replicated on all devices, regardless of the viewer’s location.
MLS had an IMG and NEP partnership in place even before announcing the league’s joint venture with Apple. In this one, IMG is expected to place a total of 29 crews across the US and Canada that will handle match production, while NEP will provide the logistical support needed for that production.
Mike Werteen, NEP Global President of Broadcast Services, added: “Utilising NEP’s connected platform, we bring six locations together to deliver every MLS game, allowing for specialised feeds and studio integration for a complete capture-to-distribution solution.
“There are [more than 100] feeds each game day routing through our data centres, production hubs, and studio facilities. I’m proud of our team’s ingenuity in taking something very complex and building an elegant solution that makes it all seem easy. That’s no small feat.”
The MLS Season Pass will be available on Apple TV+ as a subscription service, and handed out for free to club season ticket holders.
Gary Stevenson, MLS Deputy Commissioner and President of MLS Business Ventures, concluded: “MLS Season Pass is a global project that required assembling a team of the most talented and accomplished leaders in every aspect of the broadcasting industry from all over the world.
“Our focus with our partner Apple is delivering an exceptional level of quality and storytelling that entertains and engages MLS’ passionate fans, improves their experience, and engages new fans through the reach of Apple and MLS Season Pass.”