NBC Sports announced today that it has sealed a three-year agreement with Major League Soccer that will begin at the start of next season. No financial terms were revealed, but The Sports Business Journal said the deal is reportedly worth $10 million a year. The MLS package previously was housed at Fox, which showed games on its cable network Fox Soccer Channel; ESPN and Univision also have TV rights as part of a separate agreement. The NBC pact will see the network air 45 league games and four U.S. National Team games each season televised live across NBC and NBC Sports Network (the new name of Versus, which is rebranding in January). The move will return soccer to broadcast TV, and is an upgrade for the league’s cable footprint (Versus has 76 million subs; Fox Soccer has 39 million).
NBCUniversal’s NBC Sports Group has been busy building its portfolio since its formation after NBCU’s sale to Comcast: It has a new chairman, Mark Lazarus, who replaced Dick Ebersol; it retained rights to the Olympics through 2020; and in April it inked a new 10-year deal with the NHL worth $2 billion.