ESPN’s season-opening Major League Soccer telecast on Sunday – Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC in the first match at Orlando’s new downtown stadium – averaged 411,000 viewers, up 14 percent compared to the Portland-Columbus opener in 2016 (362,000 viewers).
ESPN’s 22nd straight season of Major League Soccer will kick off Sunday, March 5, at 5 p.m. ET with Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC – the 2017 MLS season- opener for both teams and the first match at Orlando City SC’s new downtown stadium. The game features some of the league’s top international stars, such as Brazil’s Kaká and Italy’s Antonio Nocerino (Orlando), and Spain’s David Villa and Italy’s Andrea Pirlo (NYC FC).
Gómez will primarily serve as a pundit on ESPN FC, ESPN’s daily soccer news, highlights and information program, as well as a studio analyst for the network’s coverage of Major League Soccer, U.S. Men’s National Team, and other international soccer competitions. On ESPN Deportes, he will appear on signature soccer studio programs Fuera de Juego and Futbol Picante.
ESPN networks will televise 31 regular-season Major League Soccer matches in 2017, beginning Sunday, March 5 at 5 p.m. ET with Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC, the 2017 MLS season- opener for the two clubs and the first match at the new Orlando City Stadium. ESPN and ESPN Deportes will televise the Orlando-NYC FC clash, which will feature some of the league’s top international stars such as Brazil’s Kaká and Italy’s Antonio Nocerino (Orlando), and Spain’s David Villa and Italy’s Andrea Pirlo (New York City).
ESPNFC.com, ESPN’s global multiplatform soccer brand, will provide week-long coverage of the 2016 MLS Conference Championships culminating on game day with coverage by its national soccer reporters – Doug McIntyre in Montreal for the Eastern Conference Championship and Jeff Carlisle in Commerce City covering the Western Conference Championship. Highlights:
ESPN will provide unprecedented coverage of the last two match days of the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season beginning Sunday, Oct. 16, with back-to-back telecasts of Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC at 3 p.m. ET and MLS Cup reigning champions Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids at 5:15 p.m. The matches on Major League Soccer’s “Final Push to the Playoffs” will also be carried on ESPN Deportes and streamed on WatchESPN.
Leading up to the 2016 MLS All-Star Game, this year’s Major League Soccer matches on ESPN and ESPN2 have delivered an average audience of 312,000 viewers (227,000 household impressions), an increase of 32 percent in viewers (235,000) and 44 percent in television homes (158,000) from the same period in 2015.
ESPN will televise the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Presented by Audi on Thursday, July 28, live from Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. The game will feature a team of Major League Soccer All-Stars playing against English Premier League powerhouse Arsenal FC. ESPN’s match coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. The MLS All-Star Game will also be streamed on WatchESPN.
For the first time, SportsCenter on the Road will originate from the site of a Major League Soccer matchup on Saturday, July 23, at 2:30 p.m. ET, live from Providence Park in Portland, Ore. – site of that day’s special MLS Special Edition featuring defending MLS Cup champions Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 3:45 p.m.
Photos via ESPN Images
Regular Season Debut of ESPN’s “Goal Post Cam”; Coaches Wired for In-game Audio
ESPN will kick off its 21st straight season of Major League Soccer coverage on Sunday, March 6, at 4:30 p.m. with the live presentation of Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC – a rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup won by Portland. The match will be the first of 17 MLS telecasts in 2016 featuring expanded programming windows for pre-game, halftime and post-game segments. ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to carry 33 MLS regular-season matches live in 2016. The matches will air in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, streamed on WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+ (Spanish).
The MLS Soccer Sunday opening weekend telecast marks the regular season debut of ESPN’s “Goal Post Cam” – the production innovation whereby cameras are embedded on each post to enhance views of action on the goal-line. The technology, exclusive to ESPN, has been in development since February 2014. It was tested at the 2014 MLS All-Star Game in Portland, and used, for the first time, in a league match at the 2015 MLS Cup.
Coaches Wired – coaches Caleb Porter (Portland) and Gregg Berhalter (Columbus) will each wear a live microphone on the sidelines for in-game audio during the telecast.
Portland vs. Columbus Commentators:
SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos will host the studio segments around the match beginning with a live pre-game show (4:30 p.m.) from Portland’s Providence Park, the home of the Timbers. Adrian Healey (play-by-play), analyst Taylor Twellman and sideline reporter Mónica González will call the match in English, while Richard Méndez and Giovanni Savarese will provide commentary on ESPN Deportes.
Pre-game Features on ESPN:
- Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe Conversation: Twellman will conduct a conversation with Portland Timbers midfielders Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe from the “Heineken Boot Room” – a bus on-site at Providence Park in Portland
- “MLS Insider”: An all-access feature looking back at the 2015 MLS Cup Final – Portland’s 2-1 victory over Columbus for the franchise’s first MLS title, by award-winning documentary producer Jonathan Hock
- Championship Banner Ceremony: The unveiling of Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS Cup championship banner
- National Anthem: Live telecast of the Timbers Army – the team’s supporters group – leading fans in singing of the National Anthem
- The Timbers Army Tifo: The unfurling of the new Timbers Army tifo, a symbolic flag or artistic display created by ardent soccer fans to represent the group’s affinity to their team.
- Twellman’s list of “MLS Players to Watch” in 2016
- ESPN FC Boot Room Extra on ESPN3 – Digital postgame show from Providence Park immediately following the conclusion of the match.
Pre-game/Halftime on ESPN Deportes:
- Interviews with Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara and Columbus Crew forward Federico Higuain
- Presentation of Portland’s championship banner celebration and fans singing the National Anthem
- Subtitled version of the “MLS Insider” recapping the 2015 MLS Cup
- An inside look at Orlando City SC and its star player Kaká, a member of Brazil’s national soccer team and the 2007 FIFA Player of the Year.
Sunday Morning SportsCenter:
- Nat Borchers Feature: SportsCenter anchor Matt Barrie travelled to Portland and spent time with 34-year-old Timbers defender and team leader Nat Borchers, who discussed his connection to Portland, the club, and its supporters
- Match Preview: Healey and Twellman preview the Portland-Columbus matchup
- Valeri-Nagbe Interview: Twellman’s chat with Portland’s Valeri and Nagbe
2016 MLS Season on ESPNFC.com:
ESPNFC.com, a leading global soccer news and information hub, offers extensive coverage of Major League Soccer’s 21th season with a series of features and other content previewing the season. Highlights:
- Pre-season Power Rankings
- Portland’s chances of repeating as MLS Cup champions by reporter Doug McIntyre
- MLS 2016 season predictions by an expert panel including ESPN FC TV analysts, ESPNFC.com writers, and ESPN Deportes contributors
- The Big Questions: Blog infographic on the “big questions” facing each of the league’s 20 clubs
- What You Need to Know about Major League Soccer in 2016
- Jeff Carlisle on New York City FC and Orlando City SC’s second seasons in the league
- MLS Cup favorites, according to the ESPN FC experts
- Guest column by Columbus Crew SC defender Michael Parkhurst
- Opening Weekend preview – Portland vs. Columbus preview by McIntyre
- Carlisle on why Columbus Crew SC, a finalist for the 2015 MLS Cup, will be a force in 2016
MLS Soccer Sunday on ESPN Through April:
(Schedule Subject to Change)
|Sun, March 6||4:30 p.m.||Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC||ESPN, ESPN Deportes|
|Sun, March 13||5 p.m.||New York City FC vs. Toronto FC||ESPN2, ESPN Deportes|
|Sun, March 20||5 p.m.||D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids||ESPN2, ESPN Deportes|
|Sun, April 10||4 p.m.||Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC||ESPN, ESPN Deportes|
|Sun, April 17||3:30 p.m.||Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution||ESPN, ESPN Deportes|
|Sun, April 24||3:30 p.m.||San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City||ESPN, ESPN Deportes|
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