Oh The Irony: MLS Gaining Popularity in Global Markets

robbiekeanevtorontoOver the past few weeks, MLS has announced multi-year deals with media outlets across the globe to have games be broadcasted outside of the United States and Canada.  While this was expected to happen as a result of Major League Soccer’s partnership with IMG, the entertainment and media licensing agency, the immediacy of these deals has been compelling.

First, the MLS signed a 4 year deal with Sky Sports and an additional deal with Eurosport, giving both European media companies the right to show MLS games every week, and expanding MLS’s reach into 52 European countries. Eurosport’s agreement allows for up to four games to be shown each weekend on their network. Below is the video from Sky Sports announcing the deal. Sky Sports Announcement

The league also agreed to a deal with Abu Dhabi Sports Channels based in the United Arab Emirates to show at least two MLS games a week, not including the All-Star Game and MLS Playoffs. The immediate effect of this deal will be MLS reaching 25 new countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Major League Soccer’s presence is clearly growing, and according to Sports Business Journal, the league has even more plans with media companies in Brazil, Latin and South America, and Asia to announce in the future.  Considering that MLS’s current TV deal with ESPN, Fox Sports 1 and UniMas calls for just 3 nationally televised games a week, these global deals shed light on how much work the league needs to do before it can match the fever and passion for the sport in other countries.

REFERENCES

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2015/03/30/Media/MLS-international.aspx

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2015/03/30/mls-partners-abu-dhabi-sports-channel-broadcast-league-middle-east-north-afr

http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/12096/9730519/sky-sports-wins-rights-to-broadcast-major-league-soccer

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