Ten Things Colorado Rapids Fans Need to Know About MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+

Feb 1, 2023 - 12:00 PM
MLS Season Pass Dashboard courtesy of Apple | Courtesy of Apple

MLS Season Pass has officially launched. It’s February 1st and the 2023 MLS regular season begins this month. Burgundy Wave may or may not have gotten an early sneak peak at what MLS Season Pass looks like and what’s to come. Here’s ten things Colorado Rapids fans need to know about it ahead of the season.

1. No Blackouts Whatsoever

We already knew this, but it’s such a big deal that it’s first on the list. #DontBlockMyAltitude no longer affects Rapids fans. No more illegal streaming or needing to use a VPN. If you’re in one of the 100+ countries that allows Apple TV+, have an account, and a device with internet, you can stream Rapids games. Pour one out for Evoca TV.

2. Up to SIX People Can Share One MLS Season Pass Account

Other streaming services limit the number of devices that can be logged in simultaneously. Apple will be more transparent, or rather let you be transparent with MLS Season Pass. Up to six unique Apple IDs can share access to one MLS Season Pass. For comparison to other soccer streaming services, ESPN+, Paramount+, and Fubo TV all max out at three devices simultaneously.

Given Apple TV+ is $70 annually and Season Pass is $100 on top of that, splitting it across a few friends and family should lower the sticker shock for many fans. Also, if you convert someone midseason, you can add them. “Hey, give me $20 and I can add you to MLS Season Pass” is way better than the last four years of “wait, they’re blacked out just like the Nuggest and the Avs?”

3. Six Games a Week Will Not Be Behind the Paywall

We have heard previously that a few games will not be behind the Season Pass paywall, effectively available to anyone with just the basic Apple TV+. That will average about six games a week. The schedule for which games will not be behind the paywall will be available about a month in advance.

With 29 teams in MLS, that’s max 14 games a weekend. If there’s no midweek games, almost half of the league’s games could be more accessible to MLS casuals. We don’t know if Apple will be evenly distributing these select games across the league and across the week. Maybe they pick some of the bigger teams or pick mostly midweek games. Even if the Rapids aren’t prioritized in this, have to think a quarter of their games could be more accessible. Tell your Rapids curious peeps who have Apple TV+ but don’t make the cut for your Season Pass six-fan roster.

4. MLS Sickos Will Still Need to Quad Box, No Multi-Screens Yet

Apple will not have multi-screen available in the app to start the season. Oh how I miss the days of MLS Live where you could have four games on at once in one browser window. With simultaneous kickoffs in each time zone, there will regularly be times when 10 games are live at once. I love a good sports Saturday when I can quad box my TV, two laptops, and my phone and OD on every game that day. You’ll need to stick with your existing setup for watching multiple games at once. It’s not clear that Apple is going to make multi-screening available anytime soon.

5. Bilingual Content is Still a Work in Progress

Apple has rolled out two rounds of hiring for their on-screen talent. They’ll be setup on opening weekend for all MLS games to be broadcast in English and Spanish with studio support. Games involving Canadian teams will be available in French as well. That said, the evergreen and additional content at launch is still mostly in English. Eventually, there will be comprehensive Spanish language options on all that content. Hopefully that happens soon so the Rapids can better tap into the Latin American community in Denver.

6. Join Midgame Easily Plus Immediate Archiving

You will have the ability to join match broadcasts midgame if you are late to pull up the stream. You can also start the broadcast from the beginning. That’s become standard for streaming services for live events. Apple expects archives of games to be available almost immediately after fulltime. That’s improvement on other sites. For Rapids fans, archived games and rebroadcasts were not geo-locked like the live games on ESPN+. But they would often not be available until the morning after matchday.

7. Customized Team Home Pages

As first reported by Pablo Mauer, there will be so much content other than the actual game broadcasts. All of this will be housed on individual team home pages. This will include weekly updates, club history and culture features that will be educational, and even drone tours of stadiums. It will be a lot for many clubs to put together and for fans to consume.

8. Evergreen Content You’ll Love That Will Help Create New Fans.

I still have concerns about Apple TV+ having the MLS rights. It’s their first go at broadcasting a sports league. The price point is not a problem for MLS diehards but might be too much for the MLS curious. None of these platforms rollouts are perfect.

That said, the content on the team home pages should do something that’s really hard in the MLS content space: Appeal to both current and new fans. Longtime fans will love to take a trip down memory lane of 2010, Marcelo Balboa, Carlos Valderrama, etc. New fans can get a crash course in their club.

9. Rubio is Already Getting the Respect He Deserves Content Wise

Part of the evergreen content will be player features and storylines. Diego Rubio’s front and center in this. He was the club’s representative at 2023 league media day. There’s a video from that on the team page. He’s got a player profile as well. Any person in MLS who doesn’t pay attention to the Rapids will visit the team page and can get up to speed in minutes about the star man, among other narratives around the club.

10. More Talent to Come, Just Not Richard Fleming

Apple announced a second round of hiring of earlier this week. A third and final round is expected prior to the start of the season. Several broadcast talents, including Richard Fleming, have already publicly said they are not in the running at all. We’re all happy for Marcelo Balboa landed. Another cast will be announced to complete the Season Pass cast and fill out the numbers. Pour one out for Richard. We hope you land somewhere soon, good sir.

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