Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF celebrates the game winning goal after defeating Cruz Azul during the Leagues Cup 2023 match between Cruz Azul and Inter Miami CF at DRV PNK Stadium on July 21, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

While soccer is the world's most popular sport, it has mostly been a slow burn in the United States. Inter Miami FC star Lionel Messi is changing that, and quickly. Messi's American debut in July last year earned Major League Soccer (MLS) its largest audience since 2004.

Messi mania is here to stay. The Ballon d'Or winner's Inter Miami jersey and limited-edition Messi GOAT T-shirts are flying off the shelves ahead of Major League Soccer's regular season, which begins tonight. If you want to catch the game -- and Lionel Messi's 2024 season debut -- know this: You won't be able to watch the game on cable TV.

Apple TV+ MLS Season Pass is the only way to watch Messi play, a part of Apple TV's 10-year deal to exclusively carry MLS soccer games.

$99 per season

What is the MLS Season Pass?

Apple TV

While some MLS soccer games will be broadcast on Fox this year, the only way to watch every game, including today's Inter Miami vs. Real Salt Lake game is with MLS Season Pass.

Available in more than 100 countries, Apple TV+ MLS Season Pass is a streaming service featuring "every live MLS regular-season match, the entire Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and Leagues Cup1 all in one place, with consistent match times and no blackouts," according to Apple.

In addition to being a viewing hub for MLS games and League Cup games, MLS Season Pass is also home to hundreds of MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT games.

Regularly $14.99 per month (or $99 for the season), fans who subscribe to Apple TV+ can enjoy a discounted price. Sign up for Apple TV+ and get the MLS Season Pass for just $12.99 per month (or $79 for the full season). 

Buy the MLS Season Pass now

What you need to know about the 2024 MLS Season

The 2024 MLS regular season begins Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024 at 8:00 p.m. EST (5:00 p.m. PST). Each team will play 34 regular season games over the course of 37 matchdays running today through Oct. 19, 2024. Playoffs are scheduled to start in October and run through November and December, culminating in the MLS Cup 2024 on Dec. 7, 2024 that will decide this year's champions.

Even if you're only in it for Messi, the way the games are spread out means you'll get the most bang for your buck by grabbing the full season pass rather than a monthly subscription.

Part of the increased popularity of the MLS in the U.S. is the league's expansion since the 2005 season. The league recently added a franchise in St. Louis, MO for 2023, and announced a San Diego, CA team will join the league in 2025. There are currently 29 teams, including three Canadian teams.

Founded in 2018 and co-owned by David Beckham, Inter Miami is one of the newer teams and signing Lionel Messi is the football club's latest bid to rise through the ranks and establish itself as one of the top teams in the league. So this season, we can expect some fierce matchups between Messi-led Inter Miami and the league's current top-ranking teams, including 5-time MLS Cup winners, LA Galaxy and last year's champions, Columbus Crew.