ESPN and Fox have won the bidding war for Major League Soccer. The two will share the English-language rights to MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team matches over the next eight years while Univision scooped the rights in Spanish. ESPN and FOX are paying a combined $75 million per year on average for those rights and the deal with Univision is said to have been sold for an average of $15 million per year. This $90MM deal is five times the value of existing deals and represents a major step forward for the league. The deal is historically high compared to previous deals and signifies that the two channels have significant optimism for the growth of the league. Obviously, someone at the networks is paying attention to the demographic shift that’s underway and positioning themselves accordingly.
May 19, 2014