The Washington Post

Major League Soccer moving to NBC, dropping Fox Soccer Channel

MLS is moving to NBC, and Fox Soccer Channel will no longer carry league matches after this season.

MLS and NBC agreed to a three-year deal that calls for 45 MLS games and four U.S. men’s national team matches to be shown live across both NBC and NBC Sports Network each season. Versus, which handles most of the NHL coverage and has far greater reach than FSC, will be rebranded NBC Sports Network in January.

Each season, NBC will broadcast two regular season MLS games, two playoff games and two appearances by the U.S. men’s national team, marking the first time four MLS matches will be broadcast on English-language network television since 2002. The NBC Sports Network will televise 38 regular season games, three playoff games and two U.S. matches. All telecasts on NBC and NBC Sports Network will consist of pregame and postgame coverage. According to the agreement, the NBC Sports Group obtains digital rights across all platforms and devices for the games it televises.

ESPN networks will continue to carry MLS and U.S. matches, including MLS Cup. Like the NBC deal, ESPN’s contract expires in 2014.

FSC made an aggressive bid to retain MLS rights but the NBC package was more attractive to the league and provided wider exposure through the main network and Versus/NBC Sports Network.

Additional details available in this Associated Press report.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.

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