Posted on August 10, 2011
NEW YORK – NBC is in and the Fox Soccer Channel is out televising Major League Soccer games.
NBC and the NBC Sports Network will begin televising 45 matches each season over the next three years, in a deal that was announced between MLS and the network on Wednesday.
The deal calls for 45 MLS mataches and four U.S. Men’s National Team games to be televised live across both NBC and NBC Sports Network each season. This marked the first rights deal for the newly-named cable channel that will be re-branded from VERSUS on Jan. 2.
The new deal will replace what FSC will televise through the rest of the year.
The difference between FSC and NBC is the latter’s reach, which potentially could bring more soccer fans into the fold and give a greater platform to the United States’ domestic league.
The announcement was made by MLS commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO Don Garber and NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus.
Each season NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two appearances by the U.S. men’s team, the first time four MLS matches will be broadcast on English-language network television since 2002.
The NBC Sports Network will televise 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two U.S. men’s matches. All telecasts on NBC and NBC Sports Network will consist of pre-game and post-game coverage. According to the agreement, the NBC Sports Group obtains digital rights across all platforms and devices for the games it televises.
“Everyone at the NBC Sports Group is thrilled to begin this partnership with Major League Soccer,” Lazarus said in a statement. “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.”
Garber called the partnership “a signficant forward for” the league and U.S. Soccer.
“The NBC Sports Group is world-renowned for its award-winning coverage, superb broadcast quality and promotional expertise,’ Garber said in a statement. “We are excited to be part of NBC’s ambitious plans for soccer, and look forward to reaching a considerable audience on multiple platforms.”
Categories: North America, U.S.A.
Tags: Don Garber, Fox Soccer Channel, Major League Soccer, Mark Lazarus, NBC, NBC Sports Network