The 2015 season of MLS will feature a brand-new TV deal with broadcasters FOX Sports, ESPN and Univision Deportes combining forces to provide soccer fans with regularly scheduled games throughout the season.
With new teams Orlando City and New York City FC on board, as well as new signings in the league including Kaka, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and more, 2015 promises to be the most exciting season in the league’s history.
Whether MLS can get a boost in the TV ratings department will depend largely on the production capabilities of ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes. The three broadcasters will need to play their A-game in order to produce coverage that will encourage viewers to keep coming back for more.
Bookmark the MLS TV schedule page today, which will be updated throughout the season. And if you haven’t done so already, start a free trial of Sling TV so you can watch the MLS games on ESPN and ESPN2 online (no cable or satellite TV subscription is required).
Here’s the TV coverage plans from FOX Sports, ESPN and Univision Deportes this season:
John Strong will team up with Alexi Lalas to work together on many of FOX’s high-profile MLS matches. Strong will be FOX Sports’ lead commentator, while Lalas will be co-commentator. Grant Wahl will serve as a sideline reporter (quite why a sideline reporter is even necessary is a debate for another day).
The trio will make their MLS debut for FOX Sports on Sunday, March 8 for the Seattle-New England game (9:30pm ET).
The Strong, Lalas, Wahl trio will call most Sunday prime-time matches for FOX Sports.
Earlier on Sunday, the FOX Sports trio of JP Dellacamera (commentator), Brad Friedel (co-commentator) and Julie Stewart-Binks (sideline reporter) will announce the Sporting Kansas City against New York Red Bulls game beginning at 7pm ET.
As we reported in October, Friedel will become a regular member of FOX Sports 1’s MLS game coverage once his season with Spurs ends later this year.
Rob Stone hosts FOX Sports 1’s season-opening pregame, halftime and postgame coverage with Eric Wynalda, Stuart Holden and guest analyst Landon Donovan.
All MLS games televised by FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 are simulcast on Spanish language network, FOX Deportes, and streamed on FOX Sports GO in Spanish.
FOX Deportes’ lead broadcast team features a three-man booth with play-by-play announcer John Laguna and analysis from Mariano Trujillo and Claudio Suarez, both former MLS players.
FOX Sports’ MLS schedule, which runs from March through October, consists of 34 matches, with 33 games scheduled for FOX Sports 1, one on FOX Sports 2, and most kicking off in prime time at 7:00 PM ET on Sunday evenings. Last May, FOX Sports 1 reached an eight-year TV rights agreement with MLS, marking the league’s return to FOX Sports in 2015 after a four-year absence.
For the first time in US history, a major American sports league will debut its new season exclusively on a Hispanic network when Univision Deportes and UniMas televise Friday night’s game between LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire.
The Univision Deportes’ exclusive broadcast of the season kick off is part of a comprehensive 8-year deal with MLS.
Throughout the MLS season, Univision Deportes will offer an English-language SAP option for every match aired on an Univision Deportes’ property, a first for sports broadcasters in the U.S. The English-language commentary on SAP, live streamed on UnivisionDeportes.com, will be provided by former U.S. National team player, Paul Caligiuri, along with announcer Ramsés Sandoval. More information about this SAP option is available at MLSsoccer.com/SAP.
Additionally, Univision Deportes will launch a weekly one-hour show, “Somos MLS” (We Are MLS), which will include highlights of each week’s matches and frequent appearances by MLS players and coaches. “Somos MLS” will air on Sunday nights on UDN beginning March 8 representing the first specific show to air on Univision networks. Other MLS programming will include weekly segments on existing Univision Deportes’ shows “República Deportiva,” “Fútbol Club,” “Contacto Deportivo” and “Locura Deportiva.” Also, for the 2015 MLS season, Univision Deportes will be live on-site for each match and producing each broadcast exclusively for the Univision Deportes audience.
Commentary and play-by-plays will come from Univision Deportes’ dynamic team of soccer experts, including Jorge Pérez Navarro, Diego Balado, José Luis López Salido, Raúl Guzmán, Iván Kasanzew, and Jorge Calvo, as well as special guest and former soccer star Marcelo Balboa.
“Viernes de Fútbol” (Fútbol Fridays) will kick off the MLS Season on Univision Deportes with the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy taking on the Chicago Fire on Friday, March 6th live from LA on UniMás at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT/7 p.m. PT, airing simultaneously on UDN. Special guest for the first “Viernes de Fútbol” will be internationally renowned MLS retired soccer player, Landon Donovan. This season, Univision Deportes will be the Friday destination for exclusive MLS action, with nearly 40 matches broadcast on UniMás and UDN.
Matches to follow during the month of March are Houston Dynamo versus Orlando FC on Friday, March 13 live at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT/4 p.m. PT, and Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas on Friday, March 20 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT/4 p.m. PT; both matches will air simultaneously on UniMás and UDN. The complete broadcast schedule is available via http://www.mlssoccer.com/tv/2015/univision.
ESPN’s 20th season of Major League Soccer – which kicks off with expansion franchises Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC Sunday, March 8 – will feature a new consistent “MLS Soccer Sunday” match window: Sundays at 5 p.m. ET. Twenty-eight of ESPN’s 34 regular-season matches will air at this time (primarily on ESPN2), marking the most consistent appointment viewing for the league since its debut season in 1996.
ESPN, which reached a new eight-year agreement with MLS last year that extends through 2022, is the league’s lone national television partner through each of its first 20 seasons.
ESPN will provide both English and Spanish-language coverage of the 2015 Major League Soccer season across its media platforms – ESPN2, ESPN, ESPNEWS, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPNFC.com, as well as news, analysis and highlights programming on ESPN FC on TV, SportsCenter and other programs.
Matches: 34 live regular-season matches:
Commentators: Adrian Healey (pxp), analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Monica Gonzalez (select matches); ESPN Deportes: Richard Méndez and Giovanni Savarese;
ESPN FC on TV: will preview MLS matches and feature extensive highlights, news and analysis (weekdays at 6 p.m., ESPNEWS; Sundays at 12 a.m. overnight, ESPN2).
Highlights: weekend match previews every Friday beginning March 6; Sunday shows will feature highlights and analysis, segments with Healey and Twellman from the day’s ESPN MLS match of the week, and guest appearances by MLS stars and newsmakers.
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