NEW YORK (Monday, October 1, 2001) - Major League Soccer announced today that the kickoff time for MLS Cup 2001 at Columbus Crew Stadium on Sunday, October 21, has been moved up one hour from 1:30 p.m. (ET) to 12:30 p.m. (ET) at the request of ABC Sports.
"ABC appreciates the cooperation of MLS in helping us move up the start time for MLS Cup by one hour," said Dan Margulis, ABC Sports director of programming. "The network's extensive news coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks created programming challenges which necessitated some scheduling changes including October 21."
Major League Soccer's championship game, MLS Cup, returns to ABC Sports for the sixth consecutive season when the league's top two teams compete to bring home the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy. In addition to being televised domestically on ABC, the match will be broadcast live on ESPN International, bringing the game to 108 countries around the globe.
"ABC has been an important partner of Major League Soccer since the league's inception," MLS commissioner Don Garber said. "We understand that the network has faced many challenges with its programming schedule during the last three weeks. We are happy to assist them - that's what partners do for each other."
Columbus Crew General Manager Jim Smith, whose organization heads up the organizational effort for the game, said, "Understanding the position ABC is in, with regard to its programming in the wake of the events of September 11, we are happy to accommodate their request to alter the start time of MLS Cup."
Home of the Columbus Crew and America's first major league stadium built specifically for soccer, Crew Stadium (expanded capacity: 23,194) is considered by many experts to be the premier soccer venue in the United States.
MLS Cup 2001 will feature the top two teams in MLS vying for the league's championship in a one-game showdown for possession of the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy.
Veteran broadcaster Jack Edwards will handle play-by-play duties with Ty Keough serving as the color analyst. ABC/ESPN soccer reporter Rob Stone and former Dallas Burn Head Coach Dave Dir will serve as the co-hosts with Stone also handling sideline reporting.
ESPN Inc., in its sixth season of MLS coverage, and ABC Sports are the league's primary national English-language television outlets. The combined networks - ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports - present the most comprehensive soccer coverage in the United States, featuring Major League Soccer, U.S. National Teams and the NCAA Men's and Women's soccer championships.
Featuring many top stars from the United States and around the world, Major League Soccer is the United States' 12-team Division I professional soccer league with headquarters based in New York City. The semifinal round of the MLS Cup Playoffs begins October 10 when San Jose visits Miami (7:30 p.m. ET) and Chicago hosts Los Angeles (8:30 p.m. ET) in Game One of both series.