Apple CEO Tim Cook specifically cross-checked famous soccer player Lionel Messi when asked about MLS Season Pass subscriptions, and a new report today states that the company enjoyed 110,000 new subscriptions on the day of Messi’s first game.

Apple’s Major League Soccer Season Pass is now believed to have over 2 million subscribers, and plays a significant role in increasing Apple TV+ subscriptions…

Apple MLS Season Pass

Apple has struck a 10-year deal that gives it exclusive broadcast rights to all Major League Soccer regular season games, League Cup games, and more, and is reported to be paying around $250 million a year for the rights.

By all accounts, the deal proved to be a smart deal for the company. This past July, it was reported that the MLS Season Pass had close to a million subscribers. Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas tweeted then that subscribers had doubled since Messi joined the league, indicating a new total of around 2 million.

Apple CEO Tim Cook did not release any numbers, but said the company is very happy with the deal, specifically referring to Messi’s role.

We exceeded our expectations in terms of subscribers, and the fact that Messi went to Inter Miami helped us a bit, so we’re really excited about that.

110 thousand new subscribers in one day

a Wall Street Journal The report cites analytical data from Antenna in suggesting the immediate impact of Messi’s first match.

MLS Season Pass saw more than 110,000 new subscriptions in the US on July 21, when the Argentine donned a pink jersey in his debut game with Inter Miami, up from 6,143 the day before, subscription analytics firm Antenna found. That was a bigger jump than the day the MLS Season Pass became available and the opening day of the season.

It also contributed to Apple’s best month for Apple TV+ subscribers, the report says — likely because the subsidized deal effectively reduces the cost of the rest of the content.

Apple sells the MLS Season Pass for $12.99 per month or $39 per season for people who also subscribe to Apple TV+ and $14.99 per month or $49 per season for those who don’t.

Another good news for Apple, said Jonathan Carson, CEO of Antenna, is that sports subscribers are becoming more loyal.

Viewers who subscribe to a streaming service to watch a show tend to do so quickly and then unsubscribe, Carson said, but sports seasons span several months, giving the broadcaster time to show them other programming.

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