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MLS Garners TV Deal with NBC

Posted on 10 August 2011 by Britt Ruby

NBC LogoThe big news in the MLS today is this morning’s announcement that they have struck a new 3-year TV deal with NBC. The deal is worth a reported $10M per year and will put at least 45 games per year onto a combination of NBC and NBC Sports (currently known as Versus but being re-branded in January 2012). The deal essentially replaces the one MLS has had with Fox Soccer Channel.

The deal appears to be a boon for MLS on multiple levels.

The most obvious improvement for MLS is financial. NBC is set to pay somewhere between $2M and $4M more per year more than FSC did.  Additionally, this 3-year agreement replaces a 1-year deal.

Maybe more importantly, NBC is going to bring its quality of production and promotion to the MLS. Let’s be honest, $10M per year isn’t going to suddenly make MLS profitable. But getting MLS into twice as many homes (Versus currently reaches 70M to FSC’s 40M) with high-quality production will give the MLS a great deal of growth potential.

Versus, under the control of NBC Sports, has developed a reputation for high-quality production with its NHL broadcasts. They are also forward thinking in utilizing advertisement potential to maximize profitability. Add to that the national availability of HD, and you have a recipe for excellent ratings growth for MLS matches.

Here’s the breakdown of each network’s responsibilities:


2 regular season matches

2 playoff matches

NBC Sports:

38 regular season matches

3 playoff matches

Here’s where this gets exciting. Add to those the games already on ESPN:


MLS First Kick

1 MLS game
The MLS Cup

The MLS All-Star Game
MLS Draft coverage (1st round)

26 MLS games
3 MLS playoff games


And that all up and you can see that the MLS is in a 2012 with strong television coverage. Obviously, this is nowhere near the NFL, MLB, or NBA. But we are now approaching the NHL, and that’s pretty good company to be in.

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