SBD/April 26, 2013/Media

MLS' Garber Says There Is Too Much Soccer On U.S. TV, Wants Set-Up Similar To NFL

Garber says there is more soccer on TV than any other sport "by far"
MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Thursday during a meeting with the AP Sports Editors said that the sport "must deal with a glut of soccer on American television," according to the AP. MLS has national TV deals with ESPN, NBC and Univision. NBC also "takes over the English Premier League next season" from Fox, which retains rights to the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. Meanwhile, beIN Sport "televises the Spanish, Italian and French leagues, GOL broadcasts the German Bundesliga and ESPN and Univision televise Mexican games." Garber said, "There’s more soccer on television than any other sport by far. You’ve got European soccer. You’ve got Mexican soccer. You’ve got Major League Soccer. There’s way too much soccer on television. I think all of us got to figure out a way to narrow that window so you can get a situation like the NFL has, a couple of days a week, short schedule, something that’s very compelling and very targeted." Garber also added that MLS is "grappling with the changes of technology and the impact on media, including the shift in readers from print to Internet." He noted that he has been "pushed by his staff to embrace new media." Referencing a recent Twitter Q&A session, during which U.S. national team F Herculez Gomez brought up his MLS rights, Garber said, "I probably would have preferred not to have had a public engagement with an ex-player, who frankly we're trying to get back into the league, and then have to discuss contract terms with him on Twitter." But he added, "Technologies will continue to change. ... We don't know what it will look like five years from now, and then all of us are going to have to find ways to adapt" (AP, 4/25).
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