Sky to Air Live MLS Games in U.K.

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
U.S. soccer got a boost from the last World Cup, and now British stars are joining MLS.

With British soccer stars coming to the U.S. league, the pay TV giant strikes a deal for rights previously held by BT Sport.

European pay TV giant Sky's Sky Sports has won the U.K. rights to exclusively air live Major League Soccer matches in Britain.

Financial details weren't disclosed. Sky competitor BT Sport previously showed MLS games.

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The four-year MLS deal begins in March. Sky Sports will air two matches live every week. "With former England captain Steven Gerrard announcing he will sign for LA Galaxy in July, and Frank Lampard set to join New York City this summer, Sky Sports will be the only place to follow the fortunes of two [English] Premier League legends in the U.S.," Sky Sports said.

Sky Sports secured 25 new rights agreements in 2014 and has added more this year as it continues to pitch itself as the U.K. sports network of choice.

Said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis: "[Soccer] in the U.S. and Canada has enormous potential for growth and we can’t wait to bring this competition to our viewers for the first time."

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Gary Stevenson, president and managing director, MLS Business Ventures, said: “As MLS continues to grow into a global brand, we are excited to partner with Sky Sports, a leader in the U.K. TV market, to bring the sport to millions of soccer fans. 2015 is a milestone year for MLS, including new stars, new clubs and a new brand. Sky Sports will help continue to grow the league and its clubs worldwide."

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake in Sky.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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