Friday, March 6, 2015

Highlights and lowlights from Major League Soccer's 2012 national television schedule

A total of 89 Major League Soccer games will be broadcast on national television in the U.S. this season.

Highlights and lowlights from Major League Soccer's 2012 national television schedule

Click here for my post on the Union’s 2012 schedule.

A total of 89 Major League Soccer games will be broadcast on national television in the U.S. this season.

At the bottom of this post you’ll find the entire schedule. Here are some matches to look forward to, and a few noteworthy omissions from the slate.

Let’s start with what NBC and NBC Sports Network have planned for their debut MLS season:

- NBC Sports Network has the first game at the Houston Dynamo’s new stadium, on May 12.

- NBC Sports Network also has the rematch of last season’s MLS Cup Final, Houston vs. Los Angeles, on May 29.

- NBC Sports Network will air games on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Most of their broadcasts will be on Saturdays, but there does not appear to be a set day of the week that they have committed to.

- NBC and NBC Sports Network will air a tripleheader across the networks on October 27, the last Saturday of the regular season.

Now for the ESPN family:

- ESPN has the MLS Cup Final, and this year it will be played on Saturday, December 1. Yes, I said Saturday. It’s the first time in league history that the championship game will not be on a Sunday, which means it’s the first time in league history that the game will not have to compete with the NFL for ratings.

Because the game is so late in the year, ESPN does not have as many college football commitments on that date. There are a few conference title games, but that’s all. As big as college football is, MLS is better off going against that than the NFL.

A reminder that this year’s MLS Cup final will be played at the home of the highest remaining seed, not at a neutral site.

- ESPN has the only game between Los Angeles and New York, on May 5.

- ESPN and ESPN2 may have some doubleheaders planned with games from MLS and the European championships in June.

ESPN2's June 16 Houston-Dallas game and ESPN’s June 24 Portland-Seattle game kick off at 5 p.m., and I don't think that's a coincidence. I would not be surprised if both of those broadcasts immediately follow European Championship broadcasts.

- ESPN2 has a San Jose-Los Angeles game on June 30 that will be played at Stanford Stadium instead of Buck Shaw Stadium. The venue change was made in part to accomodate a big crowd for a postgame fireworks display.

- ESPN2 has the MLS All-Star Game on August 1. The format has not yet been announced.

A few notes about the 27 games that Galavisión will air nationally in Spanish:

- One of the games is the only meeting of the season between the Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United, which used to be MLS’ biggest game. That their last meeting in an MLS Cup final was 13 years ago makes me feel kind of old.

- Another one is a SuperClasico meeting between Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy. That is a byproduct of the unbalanced schedule, as there are now three such fixtures instead of two. ESPN2 has both of the other meetings this year.

- Later in the season, there will be 7 p.m. kickoffs every Sunday but one from September 2 to October 28. That’s seven in all. The first one is before the NFL season starts, but the other six will compete with late-afternoon finishes and prime-time kickoffs. At least they won’t overlap with ESPN’s broadcasts.

Those are the highlights. Now for the lowlights:

- ESPN Deportes has an exclusive telecast on May 4, but unlike the English-language broadcasts, it is not currently scheduled to be streamed on ESPN3.com.

- Only one of the six Cascadia Cup matches involving the Vancouver Whitecaps will air on U.S. national television. By contrast, all three Portland-Seattle games will be nationally broadcast in the U.S.

- None of the 89 games that will air on U.S. national television this season include the Montréal Impact. I find that surprising and a bit disappointing. By comparison, Vancouver had three appearances on Fox Soccer Channel in its first MLS season.


Union fans will be happy to hear that their team has more nationally televised home games than either Seattle or Portland, whose fans are so renowned across MLS. That's a strong endorsement of how well the atmosphere at PPL Park translates to television.

Overall, the Union are tied with Chicago for the third-most national TV appearances of any team. 

Here's a breakdown of how many times each team in MLS will appear on national TV this year:

Note: I updated this after I originally posted it because I had some numbers wrong. Apologies.

Team Home games Away games Total games
New York Red Bulls 9 12 21
Los Angeles Galaxy 8 13 21
Philadelphia Union 9 5 14
Chicago Fire 5 9 14
Portland Timbers 8 4 12
Seattle Sounders 7 5 12
Houston Dynamo 6 6 12
Chivas USA 5 7 12
D.C. United 5 7 12
FC Dallas 5 7 12
Colorado Rapids 3 5 8
Sporting Kansas City 7 0 7
San Jose Earthquakes 4 2 6
Columbus Crew 3 1 4
New England Revolution 1 3 4
Real Salt Lake 1 3 4
Toronto FC 2 0 2
Vancouver Whitecaps 1 0 1
Montréal Impact 0 0 0

Here’s the full rundown of nationally televised games in the U.S. this year. All times are Eastern, and games involving the Union are in italics:

NBC

All games will also be streamed online at NBCSports.com

Saturday, September 15: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 6: New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 27: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 1:30 p.m.

NBC Sports Network

All games will also be streamed online at NBCSports.com

Sunday, March 11: FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls, 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 18: Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids, 4:00 p.m.
Friday, March 23: Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo, 10:00 p.m.
Friday, March 30: D.C. United vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 31: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New England Revolution, 11:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 14: Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 21: Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 28: New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 5: Seattle Sounders vs. Philadelphia Union, 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 12: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 26: Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 27: Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 17: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls, 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 24: New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, June 29: Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 7: Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids, 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 14: Portland Timbers vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 18: Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake, 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 28: FC Dallas vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 29: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, August 3: Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 5: Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 10: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo, 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 15: Columbus Crew vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 19: D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, August 24: Philadelphia Union vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 26: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 31: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 10:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 2: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chivas USA, 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 5: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers. 9:00 p.m.
Friday, September 14: Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 22: Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, September 28: Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 29: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders, 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 6: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 20: Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 27: Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United, 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 27: Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 6:30 p.m.


ESPN

All games will also air on ESPN Deportes and will be streamed online at ESPN3.com

Sunday, March 25: New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids, 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 5: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 2: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders, 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 8: Chicago Fire vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 15: New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders, 4:00 pm
Saturday, July 21: New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union, 2:30 pm

Sunday, October 7: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers, 9:00 pm
Sunday, October 21: Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas, 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 28: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders, 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 1: MLS Cup Final, teams and time TBA


ESPN2

All games will also air on ESPN Deportes and will be streamed online at ESPN3.com

Monday, March 12: Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union, 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 7: Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 22: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 13: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 19: Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 16: Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas, 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 30: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 10:00 pm

Sunday, August 5: Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 12: Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 26: Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls, 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 20: Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 8:00 p.m.


ESPN Deportes

Friday, May 4: Chivas USA vs. Chicago Fire, 11:00 p.m.


Galavisión

Sunday, March 11: Chivas USA vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 18: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. D.C. United, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 25: Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 1: Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire: 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 7: Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls, 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 15: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 6: FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 13: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chivas USA, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 20: Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 23: New York Red Bulls vs. Chivas USA, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 26: Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 16: Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 23: FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA, 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 30: Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 8: New England Revolution vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 15: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 21: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chivas USA, 10:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 12: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 19: New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 29: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 2: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 16: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 23: D.C. United vs. Chivas USA, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 30: Colorado Rapids vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 7: Chivas USA vs. FC Dallas, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 21: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 28: FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA, 7:00 p.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

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