Whether you’ve been a lifelong devotee of the beautiful game or are just embarking on a journey into the world of sports, Major League Soccer (MLS) has emerged as a captivating spectacle in the United States. The recent inclusion of the global soccer icon Lionel Messi, gracing the roster of Florida’s Inter Miami CF, has sent MLS soaring to unprecedented heights of popularity. Within this article, we will explore the diverse avenues available for experiencing MLS matches on American television, and we’ll dissect the recent seismic shifts in the broadcasting landscape that have broadened access to this exhilarating sport.
The MLS Surge and the Messi Magic
Major League Soccer has experienced a profound transformation, evolving from a niche pastime into a widely embraced phenomenon. It has enticed elite talents from various corners of the globe, yet the watershed moment materialized in 2022 when Lionel Messi became a part of Inter Miami CF. Messi, a figure frequently celebrated as one of the all-time greats in football, bestowed upon the league a surge of worldwide acclaim and distinction, signifying a momentous juncture in the annals of MLS.
Streaming Revolution: Apple TV Takes the Spotlight
In 2022, MLS embarked on a groundbreaking partnership with Apple TV, designating it as the primary broadcaster for all MLS matches. This momentous agreement ushered in an era of unprecedented convenience for soccer fans across the United States, thanks to the advent of streaming technology.
Apple TV’s coverage extended well beyond the regular MLS season. It became the exclusive destination for matches from MLS’s developmental leagues, encompassing MLS Next Pro and MLS Next, in addition to broadcasting MLS vs. Liga MX Leagues Cup matchups. This comprehensive approach ensured that fans could savor a rich tapestry of MLS content, from nurturing emerging talents in developmental leagues to witnessing thrilling international showdowns.
Traditional Options: FOX Sports and Cable Providers
For those without an Apple TV subscription, conventional avenues still abound for indulging in the action. FOX Sports holds the broadcasting rights for select MLS games across its channels, including FOX Sports, FS1, and FOX Deportes. Cable subscribers with providers like COX Communications, DIRECTV, Spectrum, or Comcast Xfinity can seamlessly access FOX Sports and its affiliated channels.
The accessibility of FOX Sports extends beyond traditional cable subscriptions. Numerous live TV streaming services, such as Hulu, Fubo, YouTube TV, and Sling TV, incorporate FOX Sports channels in their offerings. This flexibility empowers fans to handpick a streaming service that aligns perfectly with their preferences and budget, ensuring that they never miss a pulse-pounding moment of MLS action.
Spanish-Language Options for the Leagues Cup
For aficionados who relish Spanish-language commentary, there’s also a gateway to savor MLS action through channels like TelevisaUnivision, UniMás, and TUDN. These channels provide comprehensive coverage of MLS teams competing in the Leagues Cup, an electrifying intercontinental competition that showcases the league’s talent. It’s worth noting, however, that these Spanish-language channels typically do not provide extensive MLS coverage outside of the Leagues Cup. Nonetheless, they remain a compelling choice for those who appreciate the flair and passion of soccer commentary in Spanish.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup: Turner Sports Takes the Helm
In addition to regular league action and the Leagues Cup, MLS teams frequently participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. This prestigious tournament throws its doors open to clubs from various North American leagues, creating a platform for captivating clashes and Cinderella stories.
In the past, the U.S. Open Cup’s broadcasting landscape followed a different path, primarily relying on platforms like ESPN+ and the United States Soccer Federation’s (USSF) YouTube channel. These channels ensured widespread access for avid fans. However, the year 2022 marked a significant turning point when the USSF ventured into an exclusive multimedia agreement with Turner Sports, a subsidiary under the Warner Bros. Discovery umbrella, securing the tournament’s broadcast rights.
This fresh arrangement ushered in a new era for enthusiasts. Now, supporters can tune in to witness MLS teams vie for U.S. Open Cup glory through the Bleacher Report YouTube Channel and the Bleacher Report Football app. Moreover, U.S. Soccer’s YouTube channel also continues to be a valuable repository for comprehensive U.S. Open Cup coverage. This shift to Turner Sports not only magnified the tournament’s visibility but also granted fans a multitude of avenues to follow their cherished MLS clubs on their quest for U.S. Open Cup triumph.
To conclude, the surge of Major League Soccer in the United States, combined with the arrival of Lionel Messi, has truly metamorphosed it into an essential spectacle for enthusiasts from all walks of life. The league’s proactive efforts to expand its broadcasting horizons have ensured that fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to immersing themselves in the excitement.
Whether one opts for the convenience of Apple TV, subscribes to traditional cable packages, prefers Spanish-language channels, or embraces the rejuvenated U.S. Open Cup coverage via Turner Sports, the options are varied and cater to the preferences of every fan.
As soccer’s popularity continues its upward trajectory in the United States, MLS promises riveting matches, unforgettable moments, and a front-row seat to the evolution of the sport on American soil. So, gear up, select your favored mode of access, and become part of the burgeoning MLS fan community as they celebrate the ascent of the beautiful game in the land of stars and stripes.