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New MLS Broadcast Deal has plenty of ups, but a significant down

photo by Matt Kremkau

After the groundbreaking shock that I have read on Tuesday, June 14th, blockbuster news that Major League Soccer came out, there were plenty of cheers to see the league making a move into the future and the new age of Sports Broadcasting for the consumers of the world's favorite game here within our own domestic league. Yet one glaring jeer is a part of this new deal and we will get to that in just a moment.

But the 10-year deal worth $250 Million dollars a season with Apple TV is the major breakthrough the MLS needed to help their fans from across the USA & Canada to give relief from certain restrictions when those who wanted to see other games outside their local ones without an issue. This deal gives you every match in MLS regular season, the Leagues Cup tournament starting next summer in June and some MLS Next & MLS Next Pro games without any issues.

This deal starts in 2023 with no blackouts and no restrictions to watch any game, One app for everything, and no pay tv bundles, all will be exclusive thru the Apple TV app and if you are a season ticket holder with any MLS Club, you will receive a subscription to the MLS Apple TV app for free included with your full Season Ticket Holder package.

If you are an Apple product owner or a fan of Apple products you can easily watch these games with your iPhone, Ipad, Mac, Apple TV 4K, & Apple TV HD. But don't worry, you can still access MLS games with other devices like Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, Vizio, and other Smart TVs. Amazon Fire TV, Roku devices. Playstation & Xbox gaming devices, Chromecast on Google TV, Comcast Xfinity & tv.apple.com

This new service will provide new content for the league as they will create a whip-around show like what the NFL does for their Red Zone Channel, Game replays and other important moments to be viewed and Original programming. This new deal sounds amazing and something that the league has been needing for a very long time, but sadly it does come at a cost.

That cost is that this will be the final season the New York Red Bulls will no longer be broadcasted locally on Madison Square Garden Network. Since the league began in 1996 all National Televised games were on ESPN while the clubs had to find a local channel or a regional sports network to broadcast games to their local markets. MSG Network had many great broadcasters and analysts that have done the job.

From Joe Tollison to Derek Rae, to J.P. DellaCamera and analysts like Tommy Smith and others, Steve Cangelosi and former New York Cosmos Goalkeeper Shep Messing have been on the team for the longest time to put their knowledge on the microphone and call some beautiful moments at Giants Stadium to Red Bull Arena, as well as road matches within the MSG Network Studios.

While this means no channel surfing between MSG, MSG+, or the other backup channels like MSG2 or MSG+2 during the hockey and basketball seasons, you will now get a mixture of different broadcasters that will call games for the Red Bulls like the local packages that are similar with the NFL as CBS gets the AFC games & FOX gets the NFC games. That means MLS will now be in the broadcast business paying the broadcast teams for every MLS match in the regular season.

A 26-year run with MSG Network has come to an end and we don't know what Steve and Shep will be doing for the next ten years, but it is a shame that for the local fans of the New York Red Bulls, we won't be hearing these two calling a match together anymore when the new year comes, that is the sad moment of this new broadcast deal, and it's those people that gives the club the quality and the professionalism you know when you get to watch at home or at a fan watch party or watch highlights from the league website.

Great news for the league, bad news for the local broadcasters.

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