Examining the MLS Season Pass experience after Week 1
Week one of the Major League Soccer Season Pass on Apple TV experience is now in the books. We got a snippet of the league's new streaming service in preseason, but now we know how MLS broadcasts are going to look and feel for the foreseeable future.
The new service has been on the books since the beginning of the month, but this was our first chance to see the full product. We saw a full slate of games plus the league's whip-around show.
Here are the main takeaways from week one of MLS Season Pass.
Picture and Audio Quality is phenomenal
Picture and audio quality are the kind of things you don't notice until you do. It feels like every MLS game for the last decade has been broadcast in standard definition with weird mics compared to the crip production put together by Apple and the league.
Seeing these stadiums and teams in crisp high definition and hearing the best of the crowds across the league --- especially Portland Monday night --- added so much to the experience.
MLS 360 still needs work
I was really excited that MLS would be getting its own whip-around show, but I wasn't super impressed with the MLS 360 broadcast. You can tell it was the first ever production for the show.
I originally rocked the show on my second screen with Orlando on the main TV, but eventually switched to individual games on the laptop. The whip-around show just didn't really click. They just need to fine tune the crew's chemistry, the timing of goal coverage and the best ways to broadcast the live game feeds.
Was it too much of an MLS infomercial?
The Athletic's new weekly MLS column brought up an interesting point that I hadn't noticed. Many viewers felt like the broadcasts felt a bit too much like an MLS infomercial than a real, unbiased broadcast.
Frankly, I hadn't really noticed that while I was watching the games Saturday, but rewatching some clips and reflected on the broadcasts, I can see what they mean. I don't think it's a major problem, but it brings up an important point.
To really deliver the best possible broadcast product, it's important for the league and Apple to actually be honest and open about the league. If MLS Season Pass feels too much like state-run media, this endeavor will not succeed.