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MLS and Fox Soccer Channel Announce One Year Deal

fox soccer channelthumbnail MLS and Fox Soccer Channel Announce One Year DealIt’s official – Major League Soccer and Fox Soccer Channel are back together again, at least for one more year.

The two sent out a press release today trumpeting the agreement which will see 31 regular season games and three playoff games (including one conference final) broadcast by the cable channel.  Fifteen of the matches are Saturday night, and 14 are on Fridays.  The new schedule does result in 15 matches being moved, so break out your erasers if you have penciled your club’s schedule into your calendar.  And all are in high definition, if you are lucky enough to have it.

“FOX Soccer has been a tremendous partner for MLS for many years and we are very happy that we have been able to extend the relationship,” said MLS President Mark Abbott in the release. “Through both its news coverage and its extensive schedule of MLS games, Fox Soccer allows MLS fans across the country to follow their club as well as their rivals.”

What does the press release tell us?  We’ll still have conference championships to determine the MLS Cup participants, but that doesn’t surprise anyone.  The four clubs that will not be seen on ESPN (Columbus, Dallas, Toronto, and Vancouver) will be seen on FSC.   Other than that, you can begin to plan your TV viewing schedule and rest assured that you can watch some MLS on TV this year.

I think Fox Soccer is also missing an opportunity with this announcement.  My hope, and that of many other MLS fans, is that the eventual channel for MLS would also have pre-game segments, weekly segments, and special MLS programming.  That could still happen on FSC in the future, but I think the announcement of some of these types of programs could have really generated some excitement around a new season of MLS on Fox Soccer Channel.

The Fox Soccer Channel schedule is listed after the break.  What do you think?

March

Saturday, March 19
Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers
9 p.m.

Friday, March 25*
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo
10 p.m. (excl.)

April

Friday, April 1*
Columbus Crew vs. FC Dallas
7:30 p.m. (excl.)

Friday, April 8*
FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids
9 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, April 16
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United
7 p.m.

Friday, April 22*
Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC
9:30 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, April 23
LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers
11 p.m. (excl.)

Friday, April 29*
Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United
8:30 p.m. (excl.)

May

Friday, May 6*
Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union
10:30 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, May 14
Real Salt Lake vs. Houston Dynamo
9 p.m.

June

Friday, June 3*
LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United
11 p.m. (excl.)

Friday, June 10*
New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution
8:30 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, June 11
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
10 p.m.

Friday, June 17*
Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes
8:30 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, June 25
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy
11 p.m. (excl.)

July

Saturday, July 2
D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union
7 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, July 9
LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire
10:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 16
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids
4 p.m. (excl.)

Friday, July 29*
Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids
7:30 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, July 30
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. LA Galaxy
7:30 p.m.

August

Friday, August 5*
Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew
9:30 p.m. (excl.)

Saturday, August 13
Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy
8:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 20
Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
10 p.m.

Saturday, August 27
Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake
10:30 p.m. (excl.)

September

Friday, September 9*
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids
11 p.m. (excl.)

Friday, September 16*
Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution
11 p.m. (excl.)

Friday, September 23*
Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union
8:30 p.m. (excl.)

October

Saturday, October 1*
Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls
7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 15
Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
10:30 p.m. (excl.)

* indicates date or time change from schedule as originally announced

(excl.) – exclusively broadcast on FSC.

29 Responses to MLS and Fox Soccer Channel Announce One Year Deal

  1. Charles says:

    I think two things:

    One, MLS said if you want long term, you gotta pay. $20 million seems rediculous, but some day it might seem like a bargain. Fox passed and took the minimum amount offered, which tells me it was closer to the $7.5 million they were offering.
    Cue up the “I wish MLS would fold” guys on this one !!!!
    I can hear a rant coming, it contains the words Garber, dillusional, idiot……

    Two, please call the MLS teams FRANCHISES, not clubs. I think the “I wish MLS would fold guys” would think it is more appropriate and I like it better because it annoys them.

    ps.
    FSC has news coverage of MLS ? Wow, that blows me away.

    • bradjmoore48 says:

      “MLS said if you want long term, you gotta pay. $20 million seems rediculous, but some day it might seem like a bargain. Fox passed and took the minimum amount offered, which tells me it was closer to the $7.5 million they were offering.”

      So if this is true, then MLS can be happy they doubled their money on TV rights package for FSC from last year. But consider 2 things:
      1) Obviously MLS did not get a multi-year deal at the price they were asking, so unless ratings sky-rocket next year, FSC will have no reason to pay more than the $7-7.5M they are paying now, and could just go on a year to year basis if they wanted to keep the product. That of course leads to delays in releasing schedules, etc like we saw this year, and, most importantly, the league has to sweat it out every February over whether they can get a broadcast partner outside ESPN and Univision, who will keep the league since the rights are wrapped up with the World Cup.
      2) Half of the matches FSC is showing are now on Friday nights. Friday night on TV, even on the broadcast networks, is a night mostly filled with low-rated programming, because no one watches TV on Friday nights. If MLS has had a tradition of Friday night broadcasts previous, then you can correct me, but this basically mean FSC wants to put MLS on a night no ones watching so they can keep Saturdays open for EPL/Champions League re-runs. Notice, all Friday night games in September and most of March/April…FSC has clearly made its mind up in what it wants to promote.

      Sorry Charles, MLS didn’t win out on this one, except for an additional $4M. But maybe the money is all MLS cares about…

      • Kobashi says:

        I think its a good idea for MLS to get off of Saturday Nights in the Fall and on the much safer night which is Friday. College Football dominates Saturday Nights in the fall because ABC does a great job of picking games most weeks and there isn’t anything of note on Friday Nights to compete against MLS as they get into the business end of the season.

        • Charles says:

          Agreed there.

          Bradjmoore, I didn’t say MLS did win. In fact they obviously would have preferred the longer more money deal. They offered it. I don’t think they lost either though, I am optimistic ( obvi ) about the future, it is a huge upward trend, so not being locked in might be good. Outside of your legit concerns.

          Ummm of course it is about the money ?! It is ALWAYS about the money…except “when Player X wants to challenge himself at the highest level” and other stuff the kool aid drinkers believe.

        • ExtraMedium says:

          Excuse me. But who suggested Friday Night Futbol *because* of the lack of competition? You’re welcome Mr. Garber.

        • ExtraMedium says:

          Um, who suggested Friday Night Futbol *because* of the lack of compettion, and the fact that eventually people get tired of watch soccer all day Sat/Sun so they skip 2nd-rate MLS games? You’re welcome.

          • Alan says:

            Most foreigners here that I know watch European soccer to see their players overseas AND watch their domestic leagues. Its not a competition.

  2. Dan says:

    BAD IDEA!
    This really pisses me off. Most people don’t have FSC and those of us that do almost all of us don’t have it in HD! FSC is a shitty amateur channel and MLS will not grow with it. Versus? WTF happened with them?????????????????

    • Dan says:

      I think MLS wanted something short term with fox while Versus/NBC gets all its ducks in a row so that way next year they can get a real bidding war going on.

      • BobbyB says:

        Why in the world would two channels get into a bidding war over a product that strulgles to produce 0.10 ratings? You must have a different definition of “bidding war”.

  3. Kobashi says:

    I brought this up in the middle of another thread but why can’t Fox Soccer get programming from some of the Regional Sports Networks that create MLS programming and go heavy on FS+ w/that programming. Teams like the Sounders and Red Bulls create their own local programming. Why can’t Fox get that programming and run an MLS block on Wednesday or Friday Night as a weekend primer? Fox does this with their 3 College Sports Stations where they get coaches shows from all over the county that air on all the different RSNs and air them over 3 channels.

    I’m becoming more and more of an MLS fan and there just isn’t much on TV coverage outside of a couple games a week and what is said on the Fox Soccer Report. I would be more of a fan if the teams and league were more in front of me on my TV and not just through the internet.

    • Charles says:

      I don’t get that either. Instead in Seattle they buy the broadcast rights to the replays ?
      They (FSNW) replay every game at least three times here.

  4. SSReporters says:

    Ugh. I wish someone other than FSC could’ve gotten the rights. They are awful. It’s going to be Brian Dunseth screaming “ACROSS THE SIX!” as Christopher Sullivan rambles incoherently for weeks.

    It would’ve been cool for Versus to win rights.

  5. Boycott Garber's Ponzi scheme says:

    Versus isn’t interested and I doubt they will be after they rebrand to SNBC. They are aiming high, looking t o push ESPN off their perch. They have the cash to go for the big leagues and they will.

    • Dan says:

      MLS is the biggest up and coming league in the country if not perhaps the world. Sure we aren’t their yet but if they invest early on heavily they will beat ESPN to the rights when MLS commands big money. MLS has those kind of vision

      • ExtraMedium says:

        What? Didn’t you see the Garber quotes I had last week? MLS has no interest in being like the Europe. even though that’s what AMERICAN SOCCER FANS want. They don’t deserve the money until Super Teams (what brings in casual fans) can be developed.

    • Tim says:

      There are two items which NBC and the Mouse have fought each other for multiple times: The Olympics and the World Cup. Now the only way to get the World Cup is to go through Soccer United Marketing, Garber’s brain child. SUM always packages MLS with the World Cup, so one cannot come without the other.

      To make it short, if NBC wants the World Cup they are required to have MLS.

      • ExtraMedium says:

        Nope. No collusion between USSF and MLS/SUM to control the US soccer market here. Move along folks, laws are not being broken.

  6. Skippy says:

    You guys are looking at this all wrong. MLS is smart to only commit to a short-term deal with FSC. If there is still an unresolved NFL and/or NBA lockout in Feb 2012, there will be a real bidding war next year for the MLS rights.

    • Robert says:

      No there will not be a bidding war. Remember, MLS is in the offseason when NFL is in full swing. Bidding wars are only for leagues that have high tv ratings and any studio executive can see that MLS is worth garbage.

      • Dan says:

        The Problem with MLS ratings are a result of Lack of promotion by ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel. And MLS is not garbage.

        • It IS garbage says:

          The league had a ton of promotion when it was on ABC. No one cared. The TV ratings are poor because the league is garbage. Accept that. They already tried hard to promote it. People watched, then saw that it sucked. Now they no longer watch.

  7. joejoe says:

    The reason Fox soccer probably doesn’t put a lot of resources promoting MLS is because of constantly dismal ratings over many years. I’m sure Fox now prefers to concentrate on EPL and Champions League games, which do get better ratings. MLS rights are not worth $20 Mil/Year.
    http://epltalk.com/fox-soccer-channel-sets-new-record-for-chelsea-vs-liverpool-telecast-29232

  8. I stick with FSC says:

    i dont see why people favor VS over FSC, yea FSC may prefer quality leagues over the mediocrity of MLS but atleast MLS has enough power to be on a soccer channel. if MLS went to VS. they will be in the same category as NHL, extreme sports and slam ball. why would mls do that to its own image (come to think of it, MLS does fit well with the afterthought sports) then again MLS cares shit about what fans think they are only in it for themselves if MLS sees a better deal with FSC or VS they’ll take it, garber doesnt care about fans, if so he would do something about the quality of the league, conferences and he wouldnt have diluted the league by adding two more teams to the playoffs.

  9. Rooselk says:

    The reason many MLS fans are interested in seeing a deal with Verses is because we have seen the excellent job that network has done with the NHL. When ESPN had the NHL broadcast rights it treated the league as an afterthought, in much the same way as FSC presently treats the MLS. Verses has been an outstanding broadcast partner for the NHL and I have no reason it would be any different with the MLS.

  10. eplnfl says:

    Seems to be that FSC has decided to maximize it’s coverage on a few big teams. That’s understandable and often used by other networks to gain viewers. It seems that the Yankees v. Red Sox are always on ESPN.

    Friday nights may work out for MLS. One of the big factors in the rise of the NFL was establishing Monday Night Football as a must see event. If it takes putting LA or Seattle on every other week to gain a audience and carve out a night for MLS then thats good by me.

  11. ExtraMedium says:

    “The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship between California and Penn State drew a 0.5 U.S. rating and 794,000 viewers on ESPN2 Saturday night. The game was the second-most viewed sporting event of the day on ESPN2, topping three college basketball games and the Premier League, and trailing only the NCAA Division II football championship game. Penn State’s win drew more viewers than the MLS Cup in November (0.4, 748,000), which aired on ESPN on a Sunday night.”

    http://www.sportsmediawatch.net/2010/12/ratings-game-ncaa-volleyball.html#

    • Alan says:

      I’m trying to figure out one meaningful thing this factoid brings to the discussion.

      • Dennis says:

        You mean, besides the fact they were on espn2 and drew higher ratings than the MLS Cup Final? And with no publicity as well? Or did I miss the plethora of NCAA Volleyball Championship commercials on espnradio and only count the countless ones they had for the two western conference teams in MLS Cup?

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