SBD/Closing Bell

ESPN's Skipper: Investment In MLS TV Rights Is A "Futures Buy"

ESPN President John Skipper today acknowledged that the collective $720M commitment from his network, Fox and Univision for eight years of MLS and U.S. Soccer media rights is an investment in the sport's growth. Skipper, during a press conference announcing the deals in N.Y., said, "It's a futures buy. We're buying pork bellies. It's going to be more valuable over time."

MLS also considered changing to the FIFA soccer schedule of August-May, but Commissioner Don Garber at today's media rights announcement said that the league will keep its current format long-term. Garber: "From a weather perspective, I think it's impossible to change (to the global schedule)."

Meanwhile, Univision Deportes will have the exclusive Spanish-language rights for the Copa America Centenario, the soccer tournament in the summer of '16 that will feature the best teams from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. The formal announcement is expected to be made tomorrow, when Univision holds its upfront at Broadway’s Al Hirchfeld Theatre. The network bought out a week’s worth of performances of the musical “Kinky Boots” in order to host the presentation at the theatre.
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