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MLS CLOSE TO DEAL WHICH WOULD SEE UP TO 12 GAMES ON ABC
Published September 22, 1997
MLS' "pending" TV deal will see the ABC/ESPN "combo paying a rights fee for around 60 games, 12 of which will be on ABC next year," network sources told Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. The league's first TV arrangement with ABC/ESPN "were via a time-buy arrangement, produced by MLS and packaged with media buys from MLS sponsors." Lefton: "Other than the benefits to MLS of sheer on-air time, a truer media partnership gives ABC incentive to promote MLS and gives MLS more inventory to offer potential corporate sponsors." The deal is "expected to be wrapped up within a month." In other news, the league is expected to hold a "'spring training' of sorts for all teams" at Walt Disney's Sports Complex and will also implement a "fan balloting element" to the '98 All-Star game, "which will likely be sponsored by a large" mass-merchant retailer (BRANDWEEK, 9/22 issue).