By CALEB SONNELAND
45 Major League Soccer games and four US Men's National Team matches per season.
That's the television rights deal that NBC reached with the MLS today. NBC outbid Fox Soccer Channel for the rights to the MLS package. FSC currently has the rights for the remainder of 2011.
NBC will televise two regular season MLS games, two playoff games and two appearances by the USMNT, while the NBC Sports Network (currently VERSUS) will broadcast 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two USMNT matches. Each televised game with have a pre and post-game session.
MLS is one of the fastest growing leagues in the country, and the agreement marks the first time four MLS matches will be broadcast on English language channel television since 2002.
MLS Commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO Don Garber and Jon Miller, the president of programming of NBC Sports and VERSUS, will be available during a press conference at Lincoln Financial Field at 7:30pm ET prior to the USMNT match against Mexico.
Mark Lazarus - NBC Sports Group Chairman
“Everyone at the NBC Sports Group is thrilled to begin this partnership with Major League Soccer,” said Lazarus. “MLS is a perfect fit for our new group, and we are uniquely positioned to help grow soccer in the United States with extensive coverage on NBC Sports Network, significant programming on the broadcast network and our growing digital platforms. Additionally, this agreement complements the partnerships that five of our regional sports networks have with their local MLS teams.”
Don Garber - MLS Commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO
“Our new partnership with the NBC Sports Group is a significant step forward for Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer,” said MLS Commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO Don Garber. “The NBC Sports Group is world-renowned for its award-winning coverage, superb broadcast quality and promotional expertise. We are excited to be part of NBC’s ambitious plans for soccer, and look forward to reaching a considerable audience on multiple platforms.”
What do you think of the agreement? Glad to have another channel to watch your MLS matches? How fast is the sport of soccer rising in the United States?