Major League Soccer Announces New TV Deals With ESPN, Fox, Univision

May 12 2014, 1:14pm CDT | by

When we reported on the Major League Soccer’s financial success in November, we noted that one of the biggest factors for the league’s continued success was its upcoming TV deal negotiations. MLS is currently in the final year of TV deals with ESPN, NBC and Univision, which pay a combined $30 million annually on average. After an especially long negotiation period, the league has finally sealed new, eight-year agreements with ESPN, Fox and Univision that will run through the 2022 season.

At today’s announcement press conference, MLS commissioner Don Garber called the set of eight-year deals the “most comprehensive media rights arrangement” in the history of American soccer. Garber also discussed the league’s need for maximizing the league’s TV revenue, an area in which MLS appears to have been incredibly successful.

In our November report we predicted that, thanks to a burgeoning fan base and the networks’ need for live programming, MLS should have little trouble more than doubling its TV rights income. It turns out even that bullish guess underestimated the final outcome – the three deals are reportedly worth a combined $90 million per year, roughly triple what MLS was receiving previously. That’s still a fair bit behind America’s other pro leagues – the NHL, for instance, gets an average $200 million per year from NBC – but is a huge step toward closing the gap.

ESPN and Univision will remain as partners, with NBC being dropped for Fox. It’s worth noting that MLS will lose its (slight) connection to the English Premier League by leaving NBC, but the new deals have included some changes that seem geared toward growing the league’s television audience.

Principal among those changes is planned consistent scheduling. Similar to other American pro leagues that play their nationally broadcast games in a consistent weekly time slot, MLS will now play a nationally broadcast double-header every Sunday night. ESPN will also now control the league’s out-of-market games, which were formerly aired on MLS digital properties.

MLS has developed a loyal in-stadium fan base that has put the league ahead of the NBA and NHL in average home game attendance, but television viewership has struggled to top even the WNBA in recent years. The changes to the league’s broadcast schedule should help increase TV viewership, which is key for the still budding league. Plus with MLS expansion teams coming soon in markets like New York, Orlando, Atlanta and Miami, odds are there will be plenty of fans looking to tune in.

Follow @ChrisSmith813

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Hollande to visit Guinea next week, focus on fighting Ebola
Paris, Nov 22 (IANS) French President Francois Hollande will visit the West African countries next week, including the Ebola-hit Guinea-Conakry Nov 28 and will focus on ways to eradicate the deadly virus, media reported Friday.
 
 
Carla Bruni to lend voice to combat Ebola
Paris, Nov 22 (IANS/EFE) Former model and former first lady of France, Carla Bruni, will lend her voice to the French version of the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to raise funds to help combat Ebola.
 
 
Spanish health worker flown home after possible Ebola contagion
Madrid, Nov 21 (IANS) A Spanish health worker with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) arrived back in Spain Friday morning from Mali after being deemed at risk of contagion from the Ebola virus.
 
 
Japanese government concerned by yen's rapid fall against dollar
Tokyo, Nov 21 (IANS/EFE) Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso Friday expressed concern over the sharp depreciation of the yen against the dollar this week, and said abrupt movements in the foreign exchange market were not beneficial to the Japanese economy.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Hollande to visit Guinea next week, focus on fighting Ebola
Paris, Nov 22 (IANS) French President Francois Hollande will visit the West African countries next week, including the Ebola-hit Guinea-Conakry Nov 28 and will focus on ways to eradicate the deadly virus, media...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Jennifer Aniston wants to work with Benedict Cumberbatch
Jennifer Aniston thinks she has recruited Benedict Cumberbatch to star in 'Horrible Bosses 3'. The 45-year-old actress admits she and her 'Horrible Bosses 2' co-stars Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Harry Styles is embarrassed to wear a disguise
Harry Styles is too embarrassed to wear a disguise. The One Direction heartthrob admits it's difficult for him and bandmates Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik to go unrecognized when they're trying...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
The Best Black Friday iPad Deals
The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale has been released. The Amazon Black Friday 2014 begins earlier than ever before. In past years the Amazon Black Friday deals week started on Sunday.Besides Amazon, Walmart has kicked...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Taylor Swift is obsessed with coffee
Taylor Swift says her next boyfriend will have to compete with coffee for her love. The 'Blank Space' hitmaker, who has been single since splitting from One Direction star Harry Styles in early 2013, is obsessed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Courteney Cox is hosting a Thanksgiving bash
Courteney Cox is hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 30 people. The 50-year-old actress, who has daughter Coco, 10, with ex-husband David Arquette, and fiancé Johnny McDaid are throwing a special celebration for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Enrique bags three Latin Grammy Awards
Las Vegas, Nov 22 (IANS) Singer Enrique Iglesias received three trophies at the 15th annual Latin Grammy Awards held at MGM Grand Garden Arena, here. The singer accepted the awards from half-way around the globe from...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Choke financial support to IS, says Russia
Moscow, Nov 22 (IANS) The supply of funds for the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) must be cut off, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Friday. "Financial flows to the IS must be cut off through...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Carla Bruni to lend voice to combat Ebola
Paris, Nov 22 (IANS/EFE) Former model and former first lady of France, Carla Bruni, will lend her voice to the French version of the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to raise funds to help combat Ebola. Bruni, who...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
11 killed in Zimbabwe stadium stampede
Harare, Nov 21 (IANS/EFE) At least 11 people were killed and 40 others injured in a stampede triggered by tear gas firing by police at a religious service in a stadium in Zimbabwe, media reported Friday. The stampede...
Read more on Politics Balla