Major League Soccer (MLS), that is. The soccer league and NBC Sports Group announced a three-year media rights agreement, which commences at the start of the 2012 MLS season.
The partnership calls for 45 MLS games and four US Men’s National Team contests to be televised live across both NBC and NBC Sports Network each season. This is the first rights deal for the newly-named cable channel that will be re-branded from Versus on January 2, 2012.
“Everyone at the NBC Sports Group is thrilled to begin this partnership with Major League Soccer. MLS is a perfect fit for our new group, and we are uniquely positioned to help grow soccer in the United States with extensive coverage on NBC Sports Network, significant programming on the broadcast network and our growing digital platforms,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus.
Each season, NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two appearances by the US 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 US Men’s National Team matches. According to the agreement, the NBC Sports Group obtains digital rights across all platforms and devices for the games it televises.
“Our new partnership with the NBC Sports Group is a significant step forward for Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer,” said MLS Commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO Don Garber.