Apple TV+ Advertising Network Linked to Soccer Deal: Report

Apple is developing an advertising network for live television that it plans to debut when it starts streaming Major League Soccer (MLS) games next year — reports Bloomberg.

The information comes from sources familiar with the developments. Apple has long been rumoured to be expanding its advertising business, and the move represents another step in that direction.

Back in June, Apple signed a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer to exclusively stream all MLS, most Leagues Cup, and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches on the Apple TV app (with an MLS subscription service) and Apple TV+. The tech giant also plans to stream some games for free on the Apple TV app.

According to sources, Apple is currently in talks with advertising partners and MLS sponsors about airing advertisements during soccer games and related programming ahead of the start of the next MLS season in February 2023. As part of the MLS deal, Apple also announced a new, weekly live match whip-around show featuring highlights and more.

Apple reportedly wants to serve commercials across all three streaming tiers for MLS content. That includes the MLS subscription, paid Apple TV+ subscriptions, and free games on the Apple TV app. Apple TV+ already has some live TV advertising, which airs during the Major League Baseball games the platform currently offers.

Todd Teresi, VP of Advertising Platforms at Apple, is at the helm of the company’s push into MLS ads. Apple recently added more advertisements to the App Store, another move that was led by Teresi.

Some of Apple’s recent privacy changes — like the introduction of App Tracking Transparency last year — have kicked the legs out from underneath rivals’ marketing efforts on iOS. However, Apple maintains that its ongoing push into advertising is unrelated.

Apple is expected to bring ads to even more of its app and services moving forward. The Maps, Apple Books, and Apple Podcasts apps are reportedly next in line, but an ad-supported Apple TV+ subscription à la Netflix’s new Basic with Ads tier likely isn’t out of the question either.