The arrival of soccer superstar Leo Messi in America has caused ticket prices, merchandise sales and now streaming subscription costs to soar.
According to analytics company Antenna, sign-ups for MLS Season Pass, Apple’s streaming service that carries the football matches, increased by 1,690% on the day Messi made his debut for Inter Miami. According to recently made available data, the streaming package had roughly 6,000 new subscribers the day before, but that number soared to 110,000 on his Leagues Cup debut on July 21.
Antenna said in a blog post published on Tuesday that the “Messi Effect” on a streaming service from a year prior was “unique and profound.” Antenna claimed that typically, because of big games or price discounts, sport-specific streaming services see a large part of sign-ups at the start of the season and “gradual additions” as the season goes on.
But after Messi entered the league in July, nearly half of MLS Season Pass sign-ups took place, showing the rise in interest that Messi brought to Major League Soccer.
According to Antenna’s research, 15% of MLS Season Pass users have also signed up for Apple TV+, which is where Apple streams their primarily scripted television lineup, which includes hits like “The Morning Show” and “Ted Lasso.” Additionally, about half of new customers had Apple TV+ before buying the $12.99/monthly MLS Season Pass to their subscription.
Notably, Antenna’s data only includes US sign-ups, so it doesn’t really reflect the worldwide superstar’s likely appeal on a global scale.
Apple has not said how many people have signed up for the programme. According to Eddy Cue, senior vice president of services at Apple, the company is performing “much better than forecasted” in terms of subscribers and views. On Apple earnings call in August, CEO Tim Cook reinforced that sentiment, claiming that “fact that Messi went to Inter Miami helped us out there a bit.”
On game days, Messi regularly promotes the MLS Season Pass by posting a sign-up link to his Instagram stories. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that, according to several reports, his deal with Inter Miami includes a share of the money made from new MLS Season Pass customers.
The MLS reached a 10-year, $2.5 billion contract with Apple last summer to stream games abroad, marking the tech giant’s first significant sports agreement.
The addition of Messi “makes Apple’s media rights deal more valuable than it could have ever imagined,” Front Office Sports writer David Rumsey previously told CNN. In his words, he is “confident the company would have had to pay a higher fee than the $250 million annual deal it agreed to last summer if Messi was already in the league.”
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