If you're a fan of Netflix's Drive to Survive and also happen to be a fan of Major League Soccer, you're going to think that all of your holidays have come at once with the news that the two things are about to merge into one ball of fun. And it's going to stream on Apple TV Plus.
We'd heard hints that Box to Box, the outfit behind Drive to Survive, was planning to work on a documentary series about the MLS almost a year ago, but it now seems that things have moved on a stage with plans for filming underway. If everything goes according to plan we could expect the upcoming 2024 MLS season to take to the screen in a whole new way. The move will see Apple maintain its relationship with MLS with the two already working together on the MLS Season Pass subscription service.
However, where MLS Season Pass is a separate subscription and available to anyone with the Apple TV app, the new docuseries is set to be made available on Apple TV Plus — something that could give Apple a nice cross-promotional opportunity moving into 2024.
'Let’s take advantage of it'
The news that the new show is in the works comes via a Sports Business Journal report following an interview with MLS’ EVP of Media Seth Bacon. Bacon confirmed that between now and late February — the new MLS season kicks off on February 21 — discussions will be held around how the show will be put together and what format it will take.
“Working with Apple as our media rights partner, having a long-term deal with them, really started to galvanize these conversations, and put us in a really strong position to say, ‘Alright, this is that moment. Let’s take advantage of it,’” Bacon told the SBJ.
The report says that the series will be executive produced by Box to Box co-rounders James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin with the company's Head of Sport and Factual Warren Smith also involved. It's said that that the benefits for the MLS are clear — the league wants the show to do for soccer in the United States what Drive to Survive was able to do for F1.
“It’s a really compelling, fun league,” Martin told the outlet. “We’re excited about really taking the MLS probably to a more international audience and really showcasing the best that U.S. soccer has to offer. It’s an incredibly exciting league, it’s incredibly multicultural, there’s a really good crop of young, American, homegrown players coming through, which I think is exciting.”
As for what we can expect from the new docuseries, Seth Bacon hints that we can expect a deep integration between the show and the on-field action.
“MLS Productions produces every live match, every studio show, all the ancillary content that you see on MLS Season Pass,” Bacon said. He went on to say that gives them the ability to take storylines from the show and build them into in-game content, whether that's in the stadium or on TV screens. The result will be a more tight-knit approach than anything we've seen before, including in Drive to Survive.
This is just the latest example of the MLS and Apple working together. There's already a Lionel Messi documentary series on Apple TV Plus and the company was instrumental in bringing the World Cup winner to the MLS, too.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.