One of the aspects of the media rights deals between MLS and ESPN, FOX, and Univision Deportes that were announced on Monday has to do with the digital space, particularly the streaming of games, the out-of-market game package, and the future of MLS LIVE.
To begin, it's important to note that there are no changes to the broadcast and streaming offerings in 2014.
In 2015, as part of the new TV broadcast partnerships, all MLS matches will be available nationally through various digital platforms (and subject to local blackout restrictions, where required).
Here are some more info:
- ESPN and ESPN2 broadcasts will be streamed via the WatchESPN app.
- Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 broadcasts will be streamed via the FOX Sports GO mobile app and FOXSportsGO.com for desktops
- Univision Deportes broadcasts will be streamed via Univision's digital platforms and mobile apps.
As stated in the official announcement, the "out-of-market package, currently serviced through the MLS Live and MLS Direct Kick packages, will be available to a wider audience via ESPN3, ESPN’s live multiscreen sports network currently in more than 92 million homes, and WatchESPN, available to fans who receive their video or Internet subscription from an affiliated provider."
- The out-of-market package will provide HD-quality digital access to more than 200 games each season.
- ESPN3 does not require a cable subscription; any US-based MLS fan who wants the package will have access to it, regardless of internet provider.
- The package will be available via multiple over-the-top services (e.g. Apple TV, Roku, etc.).
Over the coming months, MLS will work with ESPN to confirm the details of the out-of-market package, including the specific platforms on which it is offered, blackout restrictions, the availability of match archives, and potential pricing models.
In 2015, the out-of-market package may include the extension of the MLS LIVE subscription package. Then, from 2016 through 2022, the out-of-market package will reside exclusively on ESPN3.
- MLS will continue to provide access to hundreds of out-of-market games each year via the MLS LIVE package.
Beyond match streaming, MLS Digital will continue to provide a cutting-edge digital experience to fans in the USA and Canada (and beyond), including our suite of mobile apps, extensive highlights, and our exclusive curated live MatchCenter experience.