NBC Sports Group, Major League Soccer Ink Three-Year Rights Deal

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NBCUniversal's sports arm will show MLS games and U.S. men’s national team
 matches on NBC, NBC Sports Network and digital platforms.

NEW YORK -- NBC Sports Group, part of Comcast's NBCUniversal, and Major 
League Soccer on Wednesday unveiled a three-year media rights deal, starting 
with the 2012 season.

The deal will replace what used to be a rights package held by News Corp.’s Fox Soccer Channel. Walt Disney’s ESPN continues to hold MLS game rights for several more years. 

Financials terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. It calls for 45 MLS
 games and four U.S. men’s national soccer team matches to be televised live
on NBC and NBC Sports Network, which will change its name from Versus as of
 Jan. 2, each season.

Said Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBC Sports Group: “MLS is a perfect fit for our
 new group, and we are uniquely positioned to help grow soccer in the United 
States with extensive coverage on NBC Sports Network, significant 
programming on the broadcast network and our growing digital platforms.
 Additionally, this agreement complements the partnerships that five of our 
regional sports networks have with their local MLS teams.”

Comcast SportsNets in California, Chicago, the mid-Atlantic, New England and
Philadelphia have such deals with local teams.

NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two
 national team matches each season, marking the first time since 2002 that 
four MLS matches will be broadcast on English-language network TV.

 NBC Sports Network will air 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and
 two national team games. The NBC Sports Group also obtained digital rights
 across all digital platforms and devices for the games it airs.

“Our new partnership with the NBC Sports Group is a significant step forward 
for Major League Soccer and U.S. soccer,” said MLS commissioner and Soccer 
United Marketing CEO Don Garber. "We are excited to be part of NBC’s 
ambitious plans for soccer, and look forward to reaching a considerable 
audience on multiple platforms.”