NBC Sports Network has replaced FOX Soccer for the TV rights to MLS beginning in 2012.
So many times the US soccer community that supports Major League Soccer have screamed and shouted for Fox Soccer Channel to improve their telecasts. It looked like they did so for the last few months with their improved graphics and better coverage showing respect to Major League Soccer coverage.
Well today MLS has gone a different direction starting next season. Major League Soccer has signed a three year deal with NBC Sports Network (the new name for Versus beginning January 2), showing six matches on NBC and forty-three on Versus/NBC Sports Network. There will be four US national team games broadcasted as well.
“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.”
Steven Goff of the Washington Post has broken it down as: NBC will show two regular season games, two playoff games and two national team games. With Vs./NBC Sports Network, it’s thirty-eight regular season games, two playoff games and two national team games. At the moment the financial terms have not been reported.
MLS will still keep ESPN as a partner as their deal along with the new NBC Sports deal will end in 2014. For those that have wanted to see this change must be celebrating right now. Many MLS fans have felt that the coverage of the NHL from NBC & Versus was so much better and wanted the league to make this move right away.
While it was a good try by Fox to make the coverage better for MLS with their Soccer Night in America, sadly the past failures has made this move to a national broadcaster and a sports network that is seen nationwide. We all know very well that Fox’s main concern is the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
I’m assuming that the CONCACAF Champions League will remain on Fox Soccer, but as of right now it looks to be that Major League Soccer is in a better place with NBC and it’s fantastic news to hear that one of the three major networks in the USA will be broadcasting Soccer in this country again.