SBD/September 26, 2013/Media

Monumental Set To Become First Third-Party Outfit To Stream MLS Game

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Monumental Sports & Entertainment's online broadcast of the DC United-Toronto FC match on Saturday will mark the first time a third-party network has streamed an MLS regular-season game. The opportunity to stream the game arose after DC United broadcast partner CSN Mid-Atlantic chose not to air it. The RSN is showing only 16 of the team’s 34 games this season -- second lowest of any MLS team. Fans in the DC market can go to MonumentalNetwork.com to get the free stream starting at 1:00pm ET on Saturday. The game also will be shown on the league’s “MLS Live” out-of-market package. MSE's online network launched in January, and company Exec VP & General Counsel Randy Boe said of Saturday's stream, "We’re really looking at it as, 'Can we produce a high-quality stream of sporting events that rivals what you’d get if you put on your TV?' And I think the answer to that is going to be that we can." The digital outfit has already streamed WNBA Mystics home games and World TeamTennis Washington Kastles matches, but Saturday will mark its first foray into soccer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but DC United will receive a rights fee. Regular DC United broadcaster Dave Johnson will call the match alongside former player Santino Quaranta from MSE’s studio at Verizon Center. The company is using TSN’s feed to show the game instead of providing its own cameras. Boe: "It’s a significant effort for us because we want to do it right. We’re doing a lot of these things right now as a test. Like the DC United match: We’re excited about it -- we’re going to do a really good job with it -- but it’s probably one of the bigger undertakings we’ve had as a network.”

WHERE DOES RELATIONSHIP GO FROM HERE? Given that Saturday’s match features two teams firmly rooted at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, Boe said that he will be focusing more on the quality of the stream’s production rather than viewership numbers in terms of whether it is deemed a success. But he added, “Ultimately, viewership will be the big determinant.” MSE is currently just focused on this weekend’s game and is not yet evaluating whether to try to expand on a deal with DC United. However, Boe said if the digital outfit does try to add more games, “It’s going to be easier than people think, because we can address a much larger market online, and we can do it in a way, frankly, that TV can’t reach anymore.” DC United COO & CFO Michael Williamson said of possibly having MSE stream more games, “This is obviously currently a one-time business relationship. We’ll look to partner with them on other opportunities as they come about, as we always have over our club’s history.”
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DC United, Media, MLS

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