In a statement, the MLS organization said Thursday: “D.C. United will no longer be distributing our match telecasts through FloSports. Announcements on broadcast plans for the 2020 season and beyond will be made in due course.”
The separation comes three days before FloSports was scheduled to show United’s regular season finale against FC Cincinnati at Audi Field. Instead, United will show the match on its website at no charge.
All playoff games will appear on MLS’s national TV platforms: ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision.
United officials said they did not want to comment. A FloSports spokeswoman told The Washington Post that the company did not want to comment.
Before United made the surprising move in partnering with FloSports, its matches appeared over the years on cable TV channels Home Team Sports and Comcast SportsNet (now known as NBC Sports Washington) and NewsChannel 8 (now WJLA 24/7 News).
Part of the appeal of partnering with FloSports, team executives said at the time, was fans’ ability to access matches on phones and tablets. United thought it was also taking advantage of the public’s desire to drop expensive cable packages for streaming services.
FloSports carried more than half of United’s 34 matches, with the rest appearing on national TV. Neither the company nor the team revealed the number of subscribers, who paid either $5.99 or $8.99 per month.
As part of the subscription, viewers also gained access to various other sports, such as wrestling and gymnastics. FC Cincinnati and the Colonial Athletic Association, an NCAA Division I conference, have partnered with FloSports, as well.
United’s matches were also available on ESPN+ but only outside the Washington area. Fans who gathered at bars authorized to show FloSports broadcasts often complained about the feed and production quality.
The move to an exclusive streaming service damaged United’s momentum in the local marketplace. One season after rejuvenating its brand and popularity with Wayne Rooney’s arrival and Audi Field’s opening, United was largely out of sight and out of mind.
It is unclear what direction United will now turn for local rights. If the club does not pursue a streaming-only deal, it could attempt to reunite with WJLA 24/7 News, though that was an imperfect arrangement. Or it could reconnect with NBC Sports Washington, which carries the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards. On that channel, however, scheduling conflicts in the spring and fall adversely affected United coverage in the past.