MLS Teams Sign Broadcast Deals for 2011 Football Season

Hi everyone,
As Major League Soccer (MLS) kicks off its 16th season, the bulk of the league’s clubs have signed multiple local television and radio contracts.

These regional television deals will provide coverage of matches that will not be carried throughout the United States either on national broadcasters ESPN and the Fox Soccer Channel, or in the case of the league’s two Canadian franchises, TSN.

Vancouver Whitecaps, one of two teams making their MLS debuts in 2011, have signed a three-year agreement with Rogers Sportsnet. This allows Rogers to broadcast 21 Whitecaps games in 2011, with this number rising to 24 during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The majority of Whitecaps matches will be shared between Rogers Sportsnet Pacific and Rogers Sportsnet One.

The league’s other new franchise, the Portland Timbers, has agreed terms with five broadcast partners ahead of its inaugural MLS season. Founding partners Root Sports will televise 16 regular season matches, with 11 more being broadcast across Fox 12 and sister station KPDX TV.

There will also be Spanish-language television coverage from Estrella TV and radio commentaries on Sportsradio 95.5 The Game (in English) and La Pantera (Spanish).

Sporting Kansas City, formerly known as the Kansas City Wizards, has changed its television partners ahead of the 2011 season. My Network TV affiliate KSMO-TV will televise all of the rebranded club’s regular season games which are not broadcast on national television, with at least one match being simulcast on sister station KCTV5. They replace CW Network channel KCWE, who had been Kansas City’s television partner in 2010.

FC Dallas has come to an agreement with CBS affiliate TXA21, who will join Fox Sports Southwest as a local television outlet of the team. TXA21 will broadcast six Dallas games, with a further 12 airing on Fox Sports Southwest and seven more on sister channel Fox Sports Southwest Plus.

The Pizza Hut Park-based club has also signed a deal with Spanish-language radio station Univision Radio KFLC 1270 AM, who will provide commentary on every FC Dallas match in 2011.

In southern California, Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket have renewed their deals with Chivas USA and David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy. Between them, the Fox-owned sister stations will televise 22 Chivas USA fixtures and 20 Galaxy games. A further five Chivas USA matches will be screened on KDOC-TV.

The Galaxy has also signed a two-year contract extension for Spanish-language radio coverage on ESPN Deportes KWKW 1330 AM, while W Radio 690 AM will continue to broadcast commentary on Chivas USA’s games in Spanish.

Houston Dynamo has agreed terms with Spanish-language television channel Azteca America KYAZ TV-51, who will broadcast 17 of the team’s games on a delayed basis on Sunday mornings in 2011. The club has also renewed terms with CBS affiliate KHOU 11.2, who will provide live coverage of at least 26 Dynamo fixtures this season, 16 of which will be simulcast on Fox Sports Houston or Fox Sports Houston Plus.

Philadelphia Union, now heading into its second MLS season, has added Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia and The Comcast Network to the team’s line-up of broadcasters, who will televise 20 matches between them. Existing Union partner WPVI-TV 6abc will screen a further seven of their games.

Other MLS franchises who will feature on their local Comcast affiliates are DC United and New England Revolution, who have renewed terms with Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic (for 17 games in 2011) and Comcast Sportsnet New England (33), while Chicago Fire has granted contract extensions to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago and WPWR My50, who will screen 24 matches between them.

San Jose Earthquakes are also continuing with Comcast in 2011, with at least ten of their games airing on Comcast Sportsnet California, five matches on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area and one fixture on Comcast Sportsnet Plus. Additionally, the club has confirmed radio deals with KDOW 1220 AM and KTRB 860 AM (English-language) and KZSF 1370 AM (Spanish).

Matches involving the Seattle Sounders will continue to be broadcast on KING-5 and KONG-6/16 in the club’s home city, while Root Sports have reached a multi-year agreement to televise these games on a live or delayed basis across the state of Washington. In addition, KOMO2 TV will serve as a Spanish-language television partner of the Sounders.

Real Salt Lake’s local telecasts will continue to air across CBS affiliate KUTV2 and My Network TV affiliate KMYU 2.2.

There are further local television renewals for Altitude, who will televise 27 games involving reigning MLS Cup champions Colorado Rapids; and ONN, who will screen 25 Columbus Crew matches in 2011. Both clubs have also reached radio agreements, the Rapids signing terms with Spanish-language station 102.3 ESPN Deportes Radio while English-language station News Talk 610 WTVN have agreed to a three-year extension with the Crew.

New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC are both yet to announce terms with local television partners for 2011, although the Red Bulls’ home opener against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday 19th March will be broadcast locally on the MSG Network.


Karl Lusbec