SBD/Issue 181/Sports Media

Kicking The Tires: MLS, Versus In Early Discussions On Carriage

MLS Officials Reportedly Impressed With
Versus' Coverage Of The NHL

MLS "could be eyeing a move to Versus, as the two sides have begun very early discussions," according to sources cited by Ben Grossman of BROADCASTING & CABLE. Officials from both sides "have met once," though neither MLS Commissioner Don Garber nor Versus President Jamie Davis were present, and another meeting is "tentatively planned to take place in the coming weeks." While the talks are "completely in their infancy and no deal is remotely on the table or has been discussed," MLS officials reportedly are "impressed with the way Versus has treated its coverage" of the NHL. But MLS execs "may just be looking to fan the soccer flames and capitalize on the halo effect that the World Cup is sure to provide the sport." The league currently has deals on English-language television with ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel, but the Fox deal is "up at the end of the season." Grossman: "Drumming up talks with potential suitors is a typical strategy for a property heading into talks over a new deal -- and in this case, MLS would hope to push Fox Soccer Channel to give them stronger terms in a potential renewal" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 6/3).

THIS IS GOING TO BE EPIC: Fox Soccer Channel and Watercooler Inc. are launching a game for Facebook called "Epic Goal." Similar to other Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars, "Epic Goal" allows the social media network's users to form teams, train players and play against other virtual teams. "Epic Goal" also will be available at FoxSoccer.com/epicgoal. It will debut in English before the start of the World Cup, with a Spanish-language version launching soon after. Other languages, including German, French and Italian, will launch later this year (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

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