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2023 Final Grades: Apple TV

MLS Season Pass did a good job of streamlining how we watch MLS games, but there's room for improvement.

Courtesy MLS Season Pass and Apple TV

Welcome to the 2023 edition of Hudson River Blue’s Final Grades, in which we analyze and grade New York City FC's performances. Next up: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. 

First, let’s discuss what Apple TV does well.

When the technology giant’s streaming service took over broadcasting duties for almost all MLS games, they brought order to what had been a fractured, Balkanized system of local and national coverage. For New York City FC fans, it meant an end to rummaging around to see if a game was on YES, or the YES app, or ESPN, or ESPN+, or Fox Sports, or FS1. 

It also brought an end to the weird and wild scheduling of past years. With Apple TV’s insistence that almost all matches take place on Saturday or Wednesday, NYCFC could no longer hold games on Tuesdays or Thursdays to accommodate the home schedule of the New York Yankees.

For the first time since the dawn of civilization, we know how and when to watch virtually all MLS games. Well done, Tim Cook. 

But everything is far from perfect in Apple TV land. The end of local broadcasts also meant the end of local broadcast teams such as NYCFC’s Ian Joy and Joe Tolleson, and the play-by-play announcers and analysts brought in by Apple TV can be hard on the ears. 

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