Major League Soccer (MLS) has awarded its Canadian media rights for the coming five-year cycle, extending its deal with TSN and striking a new agreement with French-language broadcaster TVA Sports.
Bell Media’s TSN, an MLS broadcaster since 2011, has agreed to expand its English-language coverage of the league. During the 2017 season, the network will provide exclusive coverage of every match featuring Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps, a select number of Montreal Impact fixtures, and certain matches featuring US clubs. It will also provide exclusive English-language coverage of marquee events such as the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Decision Day, Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, and MLS Cup.
Additionally, TSN will launch what MLS calls ‘a new Friday night window’ in the spring and a game of the week on Saturday nights. Its full schedule is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
Quebecor-owned TVA Sports, meanwhile, will provide exclusive French-language coverage of every marquee event plus Montreal Impact games, airing more than 50 MLS games in total per season. The network, which replaces RDS as the league’s French-language partner in Canada, will also produce a weekly show on the Impact, MLS, and international soccer, and provide editorial and promotional support.
The new deals, financial terms of which have not been released, come with MLS enjoying surging popularity in Canada, where it set new viewership records last year - a year that saw Toronto FC become the first Canadian team to reach the MLS Cup Final.
“These agreements are a clear indication that our media partners – along with the league and our Canadian clubs – are investing in the growth of the sport in Canada,” Gary Stevenson, the president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures, said in a statement.
“We are excited to continue our longstanding relationship with Bell Media and partnership with TSN, and also expand our partnership with TVA Sports to the league level. We know these two broadcasters will provide world-class coverage and promotional support of our games.”