Apple CEO Tim Cook makes Lionel Messi admission after ground-breaking MLS deal
Lionel Messi’s impact on the pitch for Inter Miami has clear since his arrival, but recent sales of Apple TV suggest that his commercial draw is not to be underestimated either.
The Argentine icon is one of the most valuable stars on the planet and his transfer to MLS has inspired an unprecedented reaction among the American general public. Not since David Beckham’s switch to LA Galaxy has a signing captured imaginations on such a widespread scale.
With tickets for away games versus the Herons in MLS having sold out within hours of the announcement of the 36-year-old’s impending move to the US and jerseys bearing his name sold old until October, Messi Mania is currently in full swing. Nobody could accuse the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner of not living up to his billing either, with supporters having been treated to five goals in just three games so far.
Unsurprisingly, his swashbuckling start to life for Inter Miami has convinced punters to sign up to watch the legendary in action on streaming service Apple TV in significant numbers. In fact, according to the CEO of the tech giants Tim Cook, the introduction of Messi to the leading US league has helped the company beat its targets in terms of subscribers already.
Addressing the subject during the Silicon Valley firm’s quarterly earnings call for the three months ending on July 1, the former right-hand man of co-founder Steve Jobs spoke of his delight at these promising numbers. Their MLS Season Pass package has brought games to some 107 countries since its establishment in February.
The service forms part of a ten-year deal that MLS struck with Apple at the start of 2023 and every game of the season is available to view. Subscribers can also view up to four games at a time through the platform’s multiscreen functionality, while flipping between audio for the games in question.
Cook told analysts: “We are excited about our MLS partnership, and we’re thrilled to see Messi suiting up with Inter Miami. It’s clearly in the early days, but we are beating our expectation in terms of subscribers, and the fact that Messi went to Inter Miami helped us out there a bit – and so we’re very excited about it.”
The former Paris Saint-Germain forward will also be buoyed by the health of these initial results, with his contract with MLS including a commercial tie-in with Apple. Essentially, this means that he will net a share of revenues accrued through sales of the MLS Season Pass.
Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas hinted at the commercial benefits of this deal in a previous interview with El Pais saying: “What I do know is that conversations with Apple are going very well and that their interests are aligning. If soccer grows in the United States, he will benefit. It’s a fair deal.”