MLS TV Rights

League asks FSC for $20 million a year

Major League Soccer has asked Fox Soccer Channel to renew its TV deal at $20 million a year — nearly seven times more than the $3 million that FSC has paid annually since 2007, according to several sources.

MLS’s renewal request is considerably higher than the $7 million-a-year deal that FSC already has offered. If accepted, the $20 million figure would make the Fox Soccer package MLS’s biggest media deal to date even though it covers some of the league’s least-viewed games.

ESPN, which has MLS’s top TV package, pays an average of $8.5 million a year through 2014 for both MLS and most U.S. national soccer team matches.

FSC and MLS remain far apart but are talking about renewing the package that ended this year.

MLS brought in media veteran Brian Bedol as a consultant last summer to help develop the league’s media strategy, including helping to negotiate this deal.

The two sides are negotiating for the league’s third TV package — behind the ones sold to ESPN and Univision. The FSC package includes weekly Saturday night games and two U.S. men’s national team non-qualifying games.

But the dollar figure MLS gets for this package is critically important for the league because it will set the market for future negotiations around MLS’s bigger media packages from ESPN and Univision, whose MLS rights also expire in 2014.

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