NBC Sports Taking On Major League Soccer

NBC Sports Taking On Major League Soccer


NBC Sports Taking On Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer has signed a three-year deal for its games to be shown on NBC and Versus, which in January will be rebranded as the NBC Sports Network.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Industry analysts put the figure at $10 million per year.

According to the deal, upwards of 45 MLS games and four U.S. Men’s National Team games will air live across both NBC and NBC Sports Network each season beginning in 2012.

The latter will carry the bulk of the events: The NBC Sports Network will televise 38 regular season games, three playoff games and two U.S. matches, according to MLS and NBC Sports. The NBC Sports Group obtains digital rights across all platforms and devices for the games it televises.

ESPN will continue to carry MLS and U.S. matches, including the championship MLS Cup. Univision also will continue to air MLS games. Both the NBC and ESPN deals expire in 2014.

Fox Soccer Channel will no longer show MLS games after the 2011 season.

The deal follows an increased interest in soccer in the U.S., which can be tracked back to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and then to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

According to Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group, “Everyone at the NBC Sports Group is thrilled to begin this partnership with Major League Soccer. 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.”

Lazarus said that the agreement also “complements the partnerships that five of our regional sports networks have with their local MLS teams.”

“Our new partnership with the NBC Sports Group is a significant step forward for Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer,” MLS Commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO Don Garber said in a statement. “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.”

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