In its latest move to expand its sports offerings, Comcast’s NBCUniversal has landed the broadcast and cable rights for Major League Soccer. Terms of the deal weren’t made public, but a source told the Los Angeles Times that the price was likely around $12 million annually for three years.
According to the deal, 45 MLS games will air on NBC as well as on Versus (soon to be rebranded as NBC Sports Network). The majority of the games will be on the cable network, but NBC will broadcast two regular-season games and two playoff games, plus appearances by the U.S. men's team.
ESPN will still be the primary home for MLS and carry most of its major games. But the league's new partnership with NBCU is a major blow to Fox Sports, which currently has the package on its Fox Soccer Channel, says the L.A. Times. One of NBCU's biggest selling points was that Versus is distributed in close to 80 million homes, while Fox Soccer reaches only about 40 million.
With MLS, the Olympics, and NHL now in its pocket, NBCU’s next goal will be to land the NFL's new eight-game package of Thursday night games.