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What does the new Apple TV deal mean for MLS? — American Soccer Analysis

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By Jared Young

If you’re reading this, you’ve seen the headlines. $2.5 BILLION dollars for Major League Soccer. A relationship with APPLE. NO Blackouts!

The last domestic TV deal signed in 2015 totaled roughly $720 million, so this seems like a pretty big step up. Perhaps MLS will finally be a league of choice. It is 2022 after all.

As usual, to get at something closer to the truth we must go beneath the headlines. There are a few drivers of the headline value that need to be unwound to determine just where we might expect MLS to go from here and how this might transform the quality on the pitch.

For starters, the Apple deal is a 10-year deal, compared to the expiring 8-year deal with ESPN and Fox. Let’s get this thing annualized.

Apple per year: $250 million

Prior domestic deal per year: $90 million

But that’s not all there is. According to The Athletic, there are more deals in the works with ESPN, and potentially Fox, that could get the total annual package up to $300 million.

Adding International deals to the current MLS agreements reportedly reaches $105 million.

That puts the estimated final package at $195 million greater per year. So far so good.

But now we have to subtract a few things. First, MLS must pay production costs, not Apple. The NFL Network spends $1 million per broadcast for an NFL game, but it’s safe to say that Garber won’t pony up for quite that level of quality. I don’t expect to see Tony Romo or Tom Brady doing the broadcasts any time soon. The Athletic estimates this annual expense at $60 million per year, which puts the average production cost per game at roughly $120K. Let’s run with it.

Next, the wonderful feature of No Blackouts comes at a cost, which is that the local television deals go away. The LA Galaxy reportedly had a $5.5 million annual deal, and LAFC was better at $6 million. It’s tough to say what the total deals of all 28 teams would add up to, but the details of the collective bargaining agreement might give us a clue.

The last CBA had a television revenue sharing component included. Players will get 12.5% of any television revenue above $165 million annually in the 2023 and 2024 seasons. This number goes up to 25% from 2025 through the end of the agreement in 2027. That $165 million likely includes the total value of all national and local agreements at the time the deal was struck. That would imply the value of local coverage might be around $60 million.

If you’re willing to assume that with me, let’s see what the scoreboard says.

Total new annual television net revenue: $240 million

Prior annual television revenue: $165 million

We’re down to $75 million per year pretty quickly. And remember $50 million of that has yet to be realized.

Lastly, there are now more teams in the league than during the prior television deal. The league averaged 23.75 teams from 2015 to 2022. While we don’t know the average number for this deal, it’s very possible the league reaches 32 teams in the next 10 years. Given this deal starts with 29 teams, let’s assume the league averages 30 teams over the next decade of league play.

The final math:

Total new annual television net revenue per team: $8.0 million

Prior new annual television revenue per team: $6.9 million

The television deal in 2014 netted each team about $1.3 million per year, so this step up isn’t quite as impactful as last time.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that potentially adding $1 million dollars to each team’s payroll is a bad thing. It is good, especially when you consider that MLS’ television ratings haven’t been growing as much as anyone who loves the league would like.

Let’s zoom out a bit and see where this new $2.5 billion and Apple might take the league from a salary perspective by 2032. From there we can see just how competitive this league will become.

Let’s start with the league Salary Budget, Garber Bucks-er-I mean Allocation Money, and this new Revenue Sharing expected to arrive.





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Thorns come from behind to defeat Spirit – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After a storm delay at Segra field on Wednesday night, a flurry of late goals was in the cards between the Spirit and the Thorns.

Washington Spirit 1, Portland Thorns 2

The Skinny: The Portland Thorns scored two late goals on Wednesday night to come from behind and snatch three points off of the Washington Spirit on the road. With the loss, the Spirit have now matched their club record winless streak of 15 matches (originally set in 2018). The defending NWSL Champions have not won since May 1st.

One Key Moment: Morgan Weaver’s cut inside and run to goal to win the match was sensational. But the amount of space given to Weaver by Spirit defenders – notably Sam Staab – on the play was unfortunate.

Inside the Game: After 75 minutes filled with quality chances for both sides, the Spirit finally got on the board with a goal that could not have been weirder. A high ball came in, and Thorns keeper Bella Bixby managed to punch it just far enough before it was headed and sent back towards goal. Moving backwards, Bixby was able to catch and hang onto the ball, but her momentum pulled her back into the goal and across the line – all with the ball still in her hands. The tally was credited as an own goal.

But just as things looked to be headed the Spirit’s way and towards a much, much needed three points, the visitors had other ideas. First, Kelli Hubly hit the crossbar with a shot, and Christine Sinclair managed to be the first to the rebound, knocking it in for the equalizer. Spirit defending was non-existent on the play.

Then Weaver’s goal completed the comeback for the visitors. In ten quick minutes, the defending champions’ chances of qualifying for the playoffs slipped away even further.

Washington now sit in 10th place with just 12 points, but they have played 16 matches, more than any team in the league.

The Goals:

  1. Washington Spirit — Bella Bixby (own goal), 76′
  2. Portland Thorns — Christine Sinclair, 84′
  3. Portland Thorns — Morgan Weaver (Hina Sugita), 90’+2′





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Burkenroad continues red-hot form – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo: C.F. Monterrey

Christina Burkenroad, at this rate, could be the first Liga MX Femenil player to reach 20 goals.

Katty Martinez and Alison Gonzalez are the owners of 18 goals in a respective Liga MX Femenil season, the most in league history. However, with seven goals in just six matches, Burkenroad seems to be on a good track. She added two more goals to her name during C.F. Monterrey’s 4-0 win over Necaxa on Monday night. Aylin Avilez and Rebeca Bernal also added tallies in Rayadas’ clean-sheet victory.

Burkenroad’s first goal was a volley past Necaxa goalkeeper Valeria Martínez. Her second goal was another volley, as she ran side-by-side with defender Karen De León and beat her out.

Burkenroad should be turning her head at the next few matches on the Monterrey schedule. Club León and Mazatlán are next on the docket. With the way she’s playing right now, expect Burkenroad to do some damage against the mid-to-low table sides.

Club Tijuana 3, Pachuca 3

Club Tijuana hosted Pachuca on Monday night and six goals resulted from the dueling forward battle. Renae Cuellar scored twice for Tijuana, while Charlyn Corral picked up where she left off with Pachuca, scoring a hat-trick. The match was back and forth, with Tijuana taking the lead three different times before giving up a final goal to Corral in the 78th minute to split the points. Veronica Perez also added a goal for Xolos.

The draw benefits Tijuana more than it does Pachuca. Tuzos, still awaiting the first minutes of Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso in purple, currently sit in 12th place with seven points. Meanwhile, Tijuana has 11 points and is slotted in sixth place. For a side that drew most of their matches last year, Tijuana has won three games to help boost their placement in the Liga MX Femenil standings.

In regards to Hermoso, the midfielder did train for the first time with Pachuca this past week, signaling a potential debut in the coming weeks. Pachuca will take on Querétaro on Monday and then have a big slate against Tigres on August 19. If there was a match that fans would want Hermoso to make a big debut in, it would be that one, despite Pachuca being on the road.

Other Apertura Week 6 Scores

  • Querétaro 2-2 Mazatlán
  • UANL Tigres 4-1 Puebla
  • Cruz Azul 0-1 Santos Laguna
  • UNAM Pumas 3-0 Atlético San Luis
  • Chivas de Guadalajara 2-0 Toluca
  • FC Juárez 0-2 Atlas
  • Club León 2-2 Club América

Liga MX Femenil Apertura Table | Week 6

NOTE: The top eight teams in Liga MX Femenil will qualify for the Liguilla, which are the playoffs.

Team W D L GA GD PTS
Chivas de Guadalajara 6 0 0 1 10 18
UNAM Pumas 4 1 1 6 9 13
Tigres 4 1 1 2 9 13
C.F. Monterrey 3 2 1 10 6 11
Club América 3 2 1 6 5 11
Club Tijuana 3 2 1 8 3 11
Atlas 2 4 0 5 3 10
Toluca 3 1 2 9 1 10
Santos Laguna 3 0 3 11 -2 9
Cruz Azul 2 2 2 4 1 8
Club León 2 2 2 9 -2 8
Pachuca 2 1 3 10 3 7
Mazatlán 1 2 3 11 -6 5
FC Juárez 1 1 4 11 -6 4
Querétaro 1 1 4 16 -7 4
Puebla 1 0 5 15 -6 3
Atlético San Luis 1 0 5 17 -10 3
Necaxa 0 2 4 14 -11 2

Looking Ahead: Apertura Week 7

*All Times in Eastern Time.

Thursday, Aug. 11: Club América vs. Necaxa at 4:45 PM (ViX+)

Thursday, Aug. 11: C.F. Monterrey vs. Club León at 8 PM (FOXS Sports México)

Saturday, Aug. 13: Atlas vs. Chivas de Guadalajara at 1 PM

Sunday, Aug. 14: Puebla vs. Club Tijuana at 1 PM (Azteca Deportes)

Sunday, Aug. 14: Atlético San Luis vs. FC Juárez at 6 PM (ESPN Deportes)

Monday, Aug. 15: Toluca vs. Cruz Azul at 6 PM (ViX+)

Monday, Aug. 15: Pachuca vs. Querétaro at 8 PM (FOX Sports México)

Monday, Aug. 15: Mazatlán vs. Tigres at 10 PM (FOX Sports México)

Monday, Aug. 15: Santos Laguna vs. UNAM Pumas at 10 PM





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For Sweden, questions remain after EURO heartbreak – Equalizer Soccer

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Richard Callis / SPP

Sweden headed to England this summer with a clear target: to get to Wembley for the EURO 2022 final and leave with the trophy. 

That did not happen. Instead, the Swedes had to leave the pitch in Sheffield in tears after a humiliating 4-0 loss to the hosts in the semifinal. 

Sweden won the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1984 – a humble four-team competition – prevailing over England in penalty kicks. That was 38 years ago. Even though Sweden has earned medals recently – third at the 2019 World Cup and a silver medal at last year’s Olympics – Swedish players went to England this summer to fulfill their dreams of winning a big international tournament. For the first time in years, the feeling was that Sweden actually could do it this time

Reality hit hard in the final stages once again, however.

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