Nothing like coming back from a week off here to this kind of news.
Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer have signed new television and media rights partnerships with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes, reaching eight-year agreements with the networks to televise MLS and U.S. Soccer matches in the United States through the end of 2022.
For the first time in MLS history, all three television partners will feature an exclusive MLS Match of the Week, providing soccer fans throughout the country with a destination day and time for each network. The Univision family of networks will televise a game of the week on Friday evenings — primarily on UniMás – and a wrap-up show on Sundays. The Friday night match on the Univision family of networks will be the first time a Spanish-language television network will have its own exclusive night with a major professional sports league based in the United States.
Soccer fans will be able to enjoy a doubleheader of MLS action every Sunday, as ESPN and FOX Sports 1 will televise back-to-back MLS matches on Sundays at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET, respectively. More than 125 MLS matches will be televised annually on the three networks.
The new TV package is worth a reportedly $90 million annually for MLS. Yes, $90 million PER YEAR.
ESPN and FOX will both have a minimum of 34 regular season games aired each season, with the majority of those games being on the to primary TV blocks mentioned above. The two networks will also alternate broadcasting both MLS Cup and the MLS All-Star game each year.
ESPN3 will carry the league’s matches’ out-of-market package as well. Which is a bigger deal than some are likely to think.