Monday, June 20, 2022

Estimated MLS App Cost

From the start, there are three things to look at when building the soon-to-be MLS Live (2.0) application for AppleTV. 

1. How much will it be to build the app
2. What are the yearly costs
3. How much to charge for the app

1. Building the app will not just be a one-time cost. The rate of change with online services is rapid and it's not just the UX. You also have the technology side. It has to work on all devices and TVs. This cost here will likely be as much as it costs to broadcast MLS games. That said, it is likely that Apple will be writing this cost off as being part of a bigger project to host more sports in the future (like the NBA and even the NFL).

2. Here is a rough look at what I believe the old expense sheet will look like.

60m MLS season
20m Leagues Cup
20m Marketing/Ads
20m Tech/IT Support
10m MLS Next

3. Now the big question that fans will have. How much will the app cost? I think the premium package will cost around $24.99. That's not a complete picture for a sub of course. You'll have new signees cobbling up movies on AppleTV+ that cost money and you'll have new customers buying Apple products. Near impossible to say what the yearly average customer value will be, but let us say $100 dollars a year. Close to Amazon's yearly prime cost ($140). 

There are some leaps in there, but I think it's close enough to say that Apple will want MLS to provide an extra 1.3 million subs over the course of the first couple of years to get into the black (over $130m operating expenses).


The 1.3 million subs are probably what got Apple to sign the deal. It seems achievable when you consider how successful the company has been at selling... really anything, over the last 15 years.

However, this is uncharted territory for Apple. MLS alone cannot net that many paying subs. It'll have to be packaged up with a linear (pay-tv and or broadcast) deal. And/or bundled with another league like the NFL or NBA (example: MLS comes with the NFL package for an extra $5 bucks a month).

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