Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MLS and NBC strike historic deal

Paul Kennedy of Soccer America breaks the news on a historical televsion agreement between NBC and Major League Soccer.

MLS reached a three-year agreement with NBC and NBC Sports Group to show 45 MLS games and four U.S. men’s national team games on NBC and NBC Sports Network (currently VERSUS) each season, beginning in 2012.

NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two U.S. men's games, marking 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 National Team matches. All telecasts on NBC and NBC Sports Network will consist of pre-game and post-game coverage.

Sources told Sports Business Daily the agreement is worth $10 million a year.

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

The agreement will mark to end of MLS's coverage on Fox Soccer Channel.

Their agreement expired after the end of the 2010 season but was extended for one year following protracted negotiations that failed to net a long-term agreement.

MLS will benefit from having its 2012 television partners in place ahead of time so it can plan the 2012 season -- that wasn't the case this year -- and the three-year term means all current MLS TV deals will expire at the end of the 2014 season.

MLS also has agreements with ESPN and Univision.

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