MLS Wants Fox Soccer Channel To Pay Seven Times More For League Broadcasting Rights

New England Revolution MLS Soccer Major League Soccer

Photo: Flickr/Jarrett Campbell

Major League Soccer wants to renew its TV deal with Fox Soccer Channel for $20 million, a seven-fold increase on the $3 million the network currently pays, SportsBusiness Journal reports. FSC has offered $7 million for partial broadcasting rights.The MLS needs to extort a large sum from FSC to set a high precedent for future negotiations with ESPN and Univision, which also carry MLS games. ESPN currently pays $8.5 million for the rights.

According to the story, MLS wants to bring Versus into negotiations to drive up the bidding price.

In 2010, MLS viewership on ESPN2 declined 12.3 per cent from the year before to an average of 249,000 over 25 games. FSC’s Saturday night audience remained constant at 53,000.

The league does plans to add to its 16 franchises by expanding into the Montreal, Vancouver, and Portland markets. But even with that increased audience, it’s difficult to imagine any broadcaster shelling out $20 million to acquire that viewership.

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