By CAITLIN MURRAY
The future for Major League Soccer looks a lot brighter — and greener, thanks to a deal that will see the league’s revenue from television increase fivefold.
The league will announce Monday a national television deal that will include a massive financial boost with ESPN, Fox and Univision paying a combined $90 million per year, according to Sports Business Daily. That is an astonishing leap in revenue from the mere $18 million MLS averages per season now in their current deals with NBC, ESPN and Univision.
ESPN and Fox will share the English-language rights for MLS and U.S. Soccer matches for the next eight years through 2022 for a combined cost of $75 million per season. Spanish-language Univision will pay $15 million.
The new contract will also reportedly set windows for a featured “game of the week,” with ESPN and Fox Sports 1 broadcasting a doubleheader every Sunday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., according to The New York Times. Univision will air a regular Friday night game.
That schedule would be a departure from MLS’ current deal that has games airing almost any day at any time.
The deal will reportedly see ESPN and Fox split the English-language rights and team up with Univision to put about 125 MLS games on the air each season. Local broadcasters will still retain rights to air the rest of the league’s matches in their markets.
MLS Live is expected to end and out-of-market coverage may move to ESPN3, ESPN’s online streaming channel, according to Sports Business Daily.
What do you think of this deal? Think this represents a turning point for MLS? What do you think of Fox going big to expand its soccer programming? What do you think of the coverage leaving NBC? Think Fox will do a good job?
Share your thoughts below.