New England Soccer Today

MLS Announces Broadcast Deal With NBC

Major League Soccer and the NBC Sports Group today announced a historic partnership that will see MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team matches aired on NBC and Versus (soon to be rebranded as the NBC Sports Network), starting in 2012.The deal runs through 2014 and will see 45 MLS games and four U.S. Men’s National Team contests televised each season on the NBC and the NBC Sports Network.

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

The deal will complement, rather than replace, ESPN’s existing deal with MLS that also runs through 2014. MLS’ agreement with Fox Soccer Channel, however, which runs out after this season will not be renewed.

As part of the agreement NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two appearances by the U.S. Men’s National Team on their national broadcast TV network. This will place four MLS matches on English-language network television for the first time since 2002.

Telecasts on the NBC family of networks will also consist of pre- and post-game coverage and the NBC Sports Group obtains digital rights across all platforms and devices for the games it televises.

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

NBC Universal is owned by Comcast, which runs Comcast SportsNet, with whom the league already has regional partnerships with five affiliates (California, Chicago, Mid-Atlantic, New England and Philadelphia). Local broadcasts of New England Revolution games appear on Comcast SportsNet New England.

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