A busy Wednesday is highlighted by the announcement that Major League Soccer has signed a three year deal with NBC to broadcast games on the network and the soon to be re-named Versus. NBC will air 2 MLS matches in 2012 while the newly coined NBC Sports Network will televise 38 regular season games and 3 playoff matches. Each outlet will also carry 2 US Men's National Team games.
The move is a big development towards mainstream acknowledgement and popularity for MLS and should trigger a cascade of excuses and panic from the entrenched dinosaur crowd in local and national media. One local radio host who claimed that "no one watches and nobody cares" about MLS may have a hard time digesting the fact that NBC felt enough people will watch to sink $10 million dollars per year into acquiring MLS programming. Another particularly clueless sports columnist recently complained that ESPN was trying to "shove soccer down our throats". His next anti-soccer rant will seem even more outdated and nonsensical.
ESPN will continue to broadcast MLS games through 2014. The NBC and ESPN deals both expire after that season setting up a battle for MLS television rights if the next three seasons are handled correctly. Fox Soccer Channel reportedly made a competitive offer to retain the rights but MLS felt the NBC offer was more attractive in terms of dollars and potential audience.
Marsch Goes North
The Montreal Impact announced that former Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch will take the reins of the 2012 MLS expansion club as it's head coach. Marsch, who recently served as an assistant coach under Bob Bradley and the USMNT should have been considered a top candidate to coach the Fire in 2012.
The mid week injury report ahead of Saturday night's match in New York has been released. Recent signing and DP goalkeeper Frank Rost is out of action this weekend and the Red Bulls will likely go with Bouna Condoul again.
CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: DF Mike Banner (R knee meniscectomy); MF Marko Maric (L posterior capsulitis); DF Steven Kinney (L groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Cory Gibbs (L groin strain); FW Diego Chaves (R knee pain); FW Gabriel Ferrari (R ankle sprain)
NEW YORK RED BULLS -- OUT: FW Luke Rodgers (plantar fasciitis); MF Carl Robinson (R knee contusion); GK Frank Rost (R quadriceps tear); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jan Gunnar Solli (R quadriceps strain)