With the English Premier League and Champions League finals and the looming FIFA World Cup, soccer is on more American minds than usual at the moment. Good time for Major League Soccer to make some sports page headlines with its new TV rights package. The U.S. pro league has inked eight-year deals with ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision that run from 2015-22, with the nets combining to air 125-plus MLS matches each season. The league and the partners didn’t disclose financial terms, but Sports Business Daily reports that Fox Sports and ESPN are paying a combined $75 million a year, with Univision chipping in $15 million per, for a total of $720 million over the life of the deal. That’s five times higher than the average annual value of the 18-year-old league’s current media deals, SBD said. League Commissioner Don Garber called it “the most comprehensive U.S. media rights partnership in the history of soccer in our country.” Each net will feature an MLS Match of the Week, with a Friday night game on Univision and ESPN and Fox Sports 1 airing back-to-back Sunday matches at 5 and 7 PM ET. With MLS’ regular season running from March to October, there will be nearly two months of Sunday overlap with that little upstart league called the NFL.
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