What Messi’s MLS, Apple, Adidas deal means for everyone else

July 11, 2023 – Media Mention

Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, was interviewed by ESPN about Lionel Messi's deal to join U.S. Major League Soccer team Inter Miami CF and the resulting issues regarding revenue sharing with league partners and the impact on media rights negotiations. 

The article discusses revenue-sharing agreements with Adidas, Apple and others, noting that "[o]ne industry expert called the Apple part of the deal 'unprecedented.' Another termed it 'unusual'." 

"That deal has never been given to anybody in baseball, basketball, football, and so it's very unique," said Kishner. "It's a generational-type thing, and it's hard to think if you would ever see anything comparable."

According to the article, ESPN confirmed that part of the ongoing discussion is a cut of revenue from new subscribers to Apple TV's MLS Season Pass streaming service. Currently, Apple holds exclusive worldwide rights for every MLS game, and the season pass also broadcasts in English and Spanish. 

The article also addresses whether Messi's revenue sharing agreement could inspire similar agreements with basketball greats in the NBA. Even with the star power in the NBA, Kishner notes, "I don't think they have that level of power like Messi. There is global reach, but not nearly what a Messi has."

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