TSN and Major League Soccer (MLS) announced today they have reached a six-year broadcast rights agreement making TSN the official broadcaster of MLS in Canada. The national broadcast agreement begins this year and runs through to the 2016 season.
Under the terms of the deal TSN and TSN2 will broadcast 24 MLS regular season matches this season featuring Canadian teams Toronto FC and/or Vancouver Whitecaps FC (see MLS broadcast schedule below). In future seasons, the networks will broadcast at least 30 games featuring the three Canadian teams – including the 2012 MLS expansion team, the Montreal Impact.
All MLS games on TSN and TSN2 will be broadcast in High Definition.
As the official broadcaster for MLS in Canada, TSN also acquires the broadcast rights for the MLS Cup, MLS CUP PLAYOFF games and the popular MLS ALL-STAR GAME, along with additional MLS games featuring non-Canadian teams.
French-language broadcasting rights in Canada belong to TSN's sister network RDS as part of the deal in anticipation of next year, when Montreal Impact join MLS as an expansion club.
"As seen with the success of Toronto FC and MLS's expansion to Vancouver and Montreal, there is an incredible appetite for professional soccer in Canada," said Stewart Johnston, President of TSN. "This is a long term partnership with MLS and we are looking forward to working with them not only to give fans 'best in class' game coverage but also to help build the profile of the league and grow the game of soccer across the country."
"We are very pleased to partner with TSN, the leading sports network in Canada," said Don Garber, MLS Commissioner. "This announcement comes at an opportune time for MLS, as we enter a period of growth in Canada with the Vancouver Whitecaps joining the League this season and the Montreal Impact in 2012. We look forward to building the sport together and creating an exciting multi-media platform for soccer fans throughout the country."
TSN's MLS coverage begins on Saturday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. ET with live coverage of the first ever all-Canadian match in MLS history when the Vancouver Whitecaps FC play their first game against national rival Toronto FC.