Fall Saturdays might be made for college football, but during MLS' upcoming eighth-month season, Saturdays are for soccer, too.
Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. every week, to be precise.
The league's new 10-year, $2.5 billion streaming partnership with Apple TV will stream every game worldwide all season long and standardize the schedule on most game days and start times.
Most MLS games now will be played on Saturdays starting at 7:30 p.m. local time.
Last season, Minnesota United played 19 of its 34 regular-season games on Saturdays. This season, it will play 25 Saturday games, each at the same local time.
In 2022, the Loons played games on every day of the week. This season, they'll play only on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesday.
"I think that will help everybody," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "That will certainly help people I know in the UK who always are worried when and what time we play. You look at the type of players we're bringing in now [from all over the world] to the league, and I can only see that getting bigger. You knowing what time it's going to be on will be a huge help."
But spectators will have to pay to watch on the new MLS Season Pass subscription service that eliminates the 29 MLS teams' local broadcast on their cable and over-the-air stations.
Apple TV Plus subscribers will pay $12.99 a month or $79 a season while non-subscribers pay $14.99 a month or $99 a season. A select number of games throughout the season will be shown free on the Apple TV app.
Minnesota United games no longer will be carried on Bally Sports Network or the CW Twin Cities. The Loons' radio broadcasts remain.
Minnesota United and all other MLS season-ticket holders will get one season-pass subscription free per account.
Fox Sports will air 34 games on linear television — 15 on Fox and 19 on FS1.
The Loons will play three of those nationally televised games, two Sundays and a Wednesday: an April 30 Sunday night home game vs. FC Dallas, an Aug. 27 Sunday 3:30 p.m. home game against Seattle and a Wednesday night Oct. 4 game at Los Angeles FC.
The new subscription service will carry every regular-season, playoff and MLS Cup game as well as every game in this summer's new Leagues Cup competition featuring MLS and Mexican Liga MX clubs.
It will do so both live and with on-demand replay to more than 100 countries and regions, to paying subscribers with internet access and the Apple TV app — with no local blackouts.
MLS Season Pass is new, but it will include some familiar voices and faces. Former Loons play-by-play man Callum Williams and game analysts Kyndra de St. Aubin and Jamie Watson are among the nearly 100 broadcasters being hired.
MLS and Apple on Wednesday launched the Season Pass more than three weeks before the season openers. It allows time to sign up subscribers and gives subscribers time to explore on-demand content such as classic games and original programming that emphasizes each club's unique culture.
"The fact that it's the name Apple — one of the biggest companies in the world — I think it'll be only good long term," Heath said. "It will take awhile for it to settle down and for everybody to find out how it all works, but I think it's only a positive."
- Minnesota United finished its two weeks' training in Florida with a 1-1-1 record after Wednesday's 2-0 loss to Orlando City. The Loons now return home for a week before they head west to play three tournament games in Indio, Calif. Their season opener is Feb. 25 at FC Dallas.