Fox will continue to broadcast Major League Soccer games in the United States under a four-year agreement that will end the operations of ESPN and ABC, which have carried matches since the league began in 1996.
MLS also announced linear television agreements Tuesday with TSN and RDS and TelevisaUnivision in Canada.
MLS chose only one television partner in the US because of this 10 years of partnership with Apple Which will start from next season. rights deal with Apple, announced in julyAllows fans to watch every game without local blackouts or restrictions.
MLS Deputy Commissioner Gary Stevenson noted that the media deals that began with Apple were built with a streaming-first mindset. The league has found that 83% of its fans watch games on a streaming device or recorded TV during an average week, up from 52% for all TV viewers.
“The original idea was to create primarily a streaming package and also add to that great linear agreement with the partners that we know so well. We are very pleased with what we are going to be able to offer. We Looks like it’s going to take off.” Be a great fan experience,” Stevenson said.
Fox, TSN and RDS also have rights to the 2026 World Cup in the US, Canada and Mexico.
Fox Sports will carry at least 34 regular-season, eight playoff matches and the MLS Cup championship game. At least 15 regular-season games will air on Fox, with the rest on FS1. All FOX and FS1 matches will be broadcast in Spanish on FOX Deportes
The agreement also includes 16 League Cup matches through the round of 16 on FS1. Beginning next season, the League Cup will be a summer competition between MLS teams and Liga MX clubs. TelevisaUnivision will broadcast 21 League Cup matches, including the final.
Stevenson said that going with a linear partner in the US made more sense because of the league’s desire for a more streamlined schedule. Most of the next season’s matches will be played on Saturdays at 7:30 pm local time and some on Wednesdays.
Stevenson said, “Fox was the right partner. They had the right program to complement what we were doing with Apple.” “We are both personal and professional fans of ESPN and Disney and appreciate what they have done for this league. We are still in talks with ESPN about how we can work together moving forward.”
ESPN said in a statement that it was unable to reach a new agreement with MLS. ESPN is also losing rights to home games from the US Soccer Federation, which begins an eight-year contract with Turner Sports in January. ESPN has rights to Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, England’s second-tier league championship and the Dutch Eredivisie.
“We are very pleased with the outstanding lineup of soccer properties on our platform, and we will continue to provide news and information coverage of the league through our industry-leading linear, digital and social media platforms,” ESPN said.
TSN and RDS would average two matches per week over the 34 rounds of the season, including one per round involving the Canadian team. It also includes eight playoff matches, the MLS Cup Championship and some League Cup matches.
Apple will be the exclusive English and French-language carrier of the League Cup quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. It would also be the sole worldwide carrier for the All-Star Game.
Linear broadcasters will use the feed from MLS as the league handles production for the first time. This is similar to the way European soccer leagues do business.
The linear deals complete the framework for MLS’s rights deals since Apple’s announcement in July. MLS Season Pass will be available exclusively through the Apple TV app in more than 100 countries starting next year.
The MLS Season Pass will launch on February 1, while the 2023 season will begin on February 25, with a full list of games including the defending champions. LAFC faces the LA Galaxy in the Rose Bowl, LAFC defeated Philadelphia on penalty kicks for their first MLS title.
MLS intends to announce the rest of its schedule this month.