For the first time in the league’s history, the primary broadcaster will not be a traditional linear or cable partner. Apple TV+ swooped in and secured the league’s broadcasting rights, and will be the primary place to watch the league in 2023. The league also sold rights to Fox, TSN, and Univision, so there will still be weekly national broadcasts on cable. Apple TV+ will also offer a number of free trials, games, and weekends throughout the year, so if you are not sure yet about whether this is the service for you, you’ll have plenty of time to test it out.
The MLS streaming service is separate from the regular Apple TV+ product, on which you can stream things like For All Mankind, Severance, or Dickinson. The MLS streaming product is $79/year, which puts it at the same price as my dear friend, MLS Live. The league and Apple are also producing off-the-field content, which has included the best goals for each team of 2022, team and player profiles, and more. You can also watch every game of the 2022 season but, for D.C. United fans, I can’t imagine why you would.
D.C. United currently only has one game on the national broadcast, so Apple TV+ is where you will need to go almost every day. There are some options, like family sharing, that are only accessible through Apple devices; hopefully that will be changed soon. Locking things to just Apple products has been one of my main questions about this deal, so hopefully it continues to trend towards interoperability.
The main issue with this deal for D.C. United fans, however, has been the broadcast. The Apple deal has centralized all of the broadcasters, analysts, and studio crews, and so D.C. United will not have local broadcasters for the first time in history. However, Dave Johnson, D.C. United’s broadcaster since Day 1, will be on WTSD (1190 AM), WONK (104.7 FM), 101.1 on HD2 radio and the iHeartRadio streaming service.
And in a surprising concession, it was announced that Apple TV+ should have the option to switch to the radio broadcast over top of the TV stream. We are yet to see how it works, but it isn’t a D.C. United season without Dave Johnson.