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MLS Season Pass primer: Inside the new way to watch MLS and Atlanta United

The 2023 MLS season, the 28th for the league and 7th for Atlanta United, brings with it a transformational way to follow the action.

MLS: Houston Dynamo FC at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

One of the massive points of frustration for Atlanta United in 2022 concerned not the team’s play, but how to watch the team, and by extension, MLS as a whole. It primarily stemmed from the inability of some fans to watch their home team in their local markets without a specific streaming service or without utilizing other means.

That being said, beginning with the 2023 season, much of that frustration should go away due to the league’s landmark deal with Apple to stream every match on the new MLS Season Pass service, which launches on Feb. 1. Here’s a full breakdown of how things will look for the upcoming season and beyond when it comes to watching and listening to Atlanta United (and MLS).

Initial MLS Season Pass content

By no means it is completely built out yet, but each club will have its own subchannel in the app. Initially, each will have club and player profiles, “best of” moments from 2022, a series called “The Ritual” diving into specific club traditions (the Golden Spike is highlighted on Atlanta’s page), and a look back at iconic players in club history (Miguel Almiron is listed for Atlanta).

In the future, more video content will appear, helmed by a host that has not been introduced yet. But Atlanta United over a month had posted a job opening for a “bilingual host” that would be a part of its Apple TV coverage in 2023 and beyond.

Leaguewide, there’s a “Beyond the Pitch” section that details how “MLS stars use their resources to drive their businesses and passion projects”, another series called “The Movement” hosted by Calen Carr, and several drone tours of several stadiums. Much of the non-game content appears to be outside of the paywall.

How much is MLS Season Pass?

MLS Season Pass is $14.99/mo. or $99 per season for non-Apple TV+ subscribers. For Apple TV+ subscribers, it’s $12.99/mo. or $79 per season. However, if you’re a season ticket holder, you’ll receive one MLS Season Pass subscription per account at no cost; the club will communicate how to redeem that subscription in due time.

How to watch MLS and Atlanta United in 2023

It’s pretty simple: MLS Season Pass is your go-to. The package includes English- and Spanish- broadcast rights for every single Atlanta United and MLS regular-season and playoff match in over 100 countries with no blackouts for in-market viewers. It also includes every single Leagues Cup match. The bad news: MLS Season Pass means no regional broadcasts from here on out with Kevin Egan, Mo Edu, and Jillian Sakovits. That said, all 3 will play a role with Egan joining as a play-by-play voice and Edu and Sakovits serving in match analyst and studio host roles, respectively.

MLS Season Pass will also show every ATL UTD 2 match as the 2s will play their inaugural season in MLS NEXT Pro after 5 seasons in the USL Championship.

One note: MLS Season Pass does not include the U.S. Open Cup as U.S. Soccer, not the league, oversees that tournament. Those rights, previously held by ESPN, will shift to Warner Bros. Discovery due to its new media rights deal with the federation.

Will there be matches on traditional television?

There will still be matches broadcast on traditional English-language TV in the U.S.: FOX Sports will be the league’s lone partner in that regard for the next 4 years. FOX and FS1 will combine to show 34 matches a year (15 on big FOX, 19 on FS1), plus a number of Leagues Cup matches and MLS Cup. Atlanta are on FOX Sports 6 times: March 11 at Charlotte FC (noon ET, FOX); Apr. 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC (4:30 p.m. ET, FS1); Apr. 29 at Nashville SC (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX); May 31 vs. the New England Revolution (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1); July 2 vs. the Philadelphia Union (4 p.m. ET, FOX); and July 15 vs. Orlando City SC (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1). Those matches are non-exclusive and will still be shown on MLS Season Pass.

Do I need an Apple device to watch MLS Season Pass?

Nope! That was a little bit of a misconception when the deal was first announced. You’ll obviously be able to stream on iPhone, iPad, Macs, and Apple TV, but you’ll be able to stream on your smart TV if it has the Apple TV app. The same is true for PlayStation and Xbox owners by downloading the Apple TV app to their consoles, while Xfinity customers will also be able to stream with their set-top box using the app as well. Matches will also be streamed on the Apple TV website across all devices.

How to listen to MLS and Atlanta United in 2023

Nothing will change on the radio side as the excellent Mike Conti and Jason Longshore will return for their 6th and 7th seasons (respectively) behind the mic on 92-9 The Game, with games also available to stream worldwide on the Audacy app. Some matches, as in previous seasons, will be placed on its sister station Star 94 due to conflicts with the Atlanta Hawks, but those are communicated in advance. A fun feature within MLS Season Pass is the ability to sync up a club’s home radio call with video; while away audio isn’t available at this time, it’s hard to imagine that not being an offering in the future.

In Spanish, La Mejor (AM 1600/1460/1130) will continue as the club’s radio partner.