Under their new TV deal with Major League Soccer, FOX Sports no longer have exclusive rights. Since FOX Sports are the only television partner left for MLS, and every single game is on MLS Season Pass, FOX Sports find themselves in the uncanny position of pimping for Apple TV. At the same time, FOX are also in competition with MLS Season Pass for viewers. Such are the complexities of the new MLS media rights deal.
For instance, starting this opening weekend, the FOX over-the-air network is televising Nashville against NYCFC with John Strong and Stu Holden doing the call with Alexi Lalas sitting in the studio pundit’s chair. However, viewers can opt to watch the game for free on MLS Season Pass. And who are the announcers of the Nashville-NYCFC game on MLS Season Pass? Commentators Keith Costigan and Maurice Edu, who have both worked for FOX in the past.
MLS finds itself needing FOX Sports to help broadcast the league to the casual fans. In doing so, the league is hoping that those games help sell subscriptions to MLS Season Pass. For FOX Sports, the benefits of the relationship are less clear. Certainly the broadcaster wants US Men’s National Team fans to embrace the network in the lead-up to FOX’s coverage of FIFA World Cup 2026.
FOX in competition with MLS Season Pass
For the 2023 MLS TV schedule, FOX Sports have 15 regular season games on FOX and 19 on FS1. Of those 34, select games air live on FOX Deportes.
Calling matches for FOX Deportes are talent including John Laguna and Rodolfo Landeros, Claudio Suarez, Mariano Trujillo, Martin “Pulpo” Zuñiga and Alvaro Izquierdo.
On the English- and Spanish-language broadcasts, FOX Sports have coverage from 2023 through 2026. In addition to the previously mentioned regular season games, FOX Sports have the TV rights to the MLS Cup final as well as eight MLS Cup playoff matches each season.
For English-language Leagues Cup coverage, FOX’s channels have linear broadcasts of those games. The linear channels carry 10 group stage, four round of 32 and two round of 16 clashes. Notably, the Leagues Cup Final does not have English-language linear TV coverage. Instead, that is available exclusively through MLS Season Pass.
Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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