A wish most soccer fans that watch Major League Soccer have been asking for has come true. The league and NBC agreed today on a three-year deal that will have MLS games shown on NBC and on Versus (or no NBC Sports Network) starting in 2012.
The news came down like a wildfire on Twitter just moments ago as several folks tweeted out the deal. From what I could gather here is the bulk of the deal:
–NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two U.S. Men’s National Team games.
–The NBC Sports Network (which used to be VERSUS) will televise 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two U.S. Men’s National Team games.
–There will be pre and post-game coverage of games.
–It’s the first sports rights deal for The NBC Sports Network.
Announcers for the games have not been announced, I’d imagine that will come in a couple months.
Going to NBC from Fox Soccer is a major deal for the league. Versus (or now NBC Sports Network) reached 74 million homes last year while FSC only reached about 37 million. That is a HUGE jump.
The league had been in a one-year deal with Fox Soccer to broadcast games this year. The agreement with FSC was to have the soccer network improve their coverage of the league. FSC started “Soccer Nigh In America” but in the end that wasn’t enough for the league. With FSC continuing to improve its coverage of the EPL, MLS made the big decision to make the jump to NBC.
I’d expect the production of games on NBC to jump way up next year. Let’s also not forget that it took FSC a long time to be truly HD. We won’t have that issue with NBC as both the network and the cable channel have been in HD for a couple years now.
All three MLS television deals, which includes ESPN and Univision in addition to NBC, will expire at the end of 2014.