U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer and NBC Sports Announce Multi-Year Partnership
NEW YORK (August 10, 2011) – U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer (MLS) and the NBC Sports Group today announced a three-year media rights agreement, which commences at the start of the 2012 MLS season. The partnership calls for four U.S. Men’s National Team and 45 MLS games to be televised live across both NBC and NBC Sports Network each season. This marks the first rights deal for the newly-named cable channel that will be re-branded from VERSUS on January 2, 2012. The announcement was made today by MLS Commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO Don Garber and Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group.
“Everyone at the NBC Sports Group is thrilled to begin this partnership with Major League Soccer,” said Lazarus. “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. Additionally, this agreement complements the partnerships that five of our regional sports networks have with their local MLS teams.”
Each season, NBC will broadcast two U.S. Men’s National Team games, two regular-season MLS games and two playoff games, marking the first time four MLS matches will be broadcast on English-language network television since 2002. The NBC Sports Network will also televise two U.S. Men’s National Team matches, along with 38 regular-season MLS games and three playoff games. All telecasts on NBC and NBC Sports Network will consist of pre-game and post-game coverage. According to the agreement, the NBC Sports Group obtains digital rights across all platforms and devices for the games it televises.
“As one of the premier television networks, NBC has the expertise, talent and vision to provide incredible coverage for soccer in the United States and help us continue to broaden the game’s exposure to a larger audience,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We are excited about this partnership and looking forward to working with the NBC Sports Group over the next few years.”
“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. “The NBC Sports Group is world-renowned for its award-winning coverage, superb broadcast quality and promotional expertise. We are excited to be part of NBC’s ambitious plans for soccer, and look forward to reaching a considerable audience on multiple platforms.”