MLS' LOGAN CALLS NEW TV DEAL "HUGE STEP FORWARD" FOR LEAGUE
ESPN and MLS have reached a six-year TV deal through
the 2003 season. As part of the deal, ABC Sports will air a
minimum of 12 telecasts a season, including the league
opener, the All-Star Game and the MLS Cup. ESPN will begin
with 10 telecasts per year, with an eventual increase to 15.
ESPN2 will show 25 matches in '98, with an eventual increase
to 35 per year. ESPN and MLS will continue to produce the
league's pay subscription package (ESPN).
DETAILS: The deal will pay the league $5M in '98 and
the fee "could increase in subsequent years based on
advertising revenue," according to Stephen Battaglio of the
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. MLS Commissioner Logan called the deal
"a huge step forward" for the league (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER,
10/17). Joshua Prager of the WALL STREET JOURNAL writes
that the deal "is the most extensive broadcasting package
ever for professional soccer in the U.S." The networks
"won't pay broadcast-rights fees" to MLS, instead sharing
costs and revenue generated from ad sales (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 10/17). The league's first two seasons on ABC and
ESPN have consisted of a time-buy (N.Y. TIMES, 10/17).