MLS announces schedule for 2013
By Wire Service
Each of the League’s 19 clubs will play 34 matches, 17 at home and 17 away, over 35 weeks. Within each conference, each club will play the same number of in-conference and out-of-conference games, following the same competition format as 2012, with inter-conference matches switching venues.
In addition to the nine matches of the opening weekend March 2-3, another early-season highlight is Rivalry Week March 16 & 17. The third week of the season features eight matches that will stir passions and entice traveling supporters. Fans across the United Stateswill get an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy the slate of heated contests on March 16 when NBC and NBC Sports Network combine to deliver three live games in their entirety, plus a special studio show delivering the best of the day’s action.
More than 90 percent of this year’s regular season games are on weekends or holidays, and none will overlap directly with FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches. During the summer months, most games will kick off no earlier than 4 p.m. local time in an effort to reduce the impact of hot weather.
All 323 matches will be televised live – 87 via national network partners ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Univision and UniMás in the United States. Nationally in Canada, at least 30 games featuring Canadian clubs will air on TSN/TSN2 in English and RDS/RDS2 in French. The TSN/TSN2 and RDS/RDS2 schedules will be announced in the coming weeks.
All non-national TV games will be broadcast locally and/or via subscription to Direct Kick and MLS Live, the digital streaming package for MLSsoccer.com, mobile devices and tablets.
The 2013 regular season concludes Sunday, Oct. 27 with five games, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs. Only two clubs will reach MLS Cup 2013, and the one with a better regular season record will host the championship game on Dec. 7 or 8, with details to be announced at a later date.
A partner since the League’s inaugural season, ESPN continues its live coverage of MLS with 20 regular season games, nearly all of which will be on Sunday. Among the compelling matches are an opening weekend trip for Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls’ to face the Portland Timbers and their intimidating atmosphere (March 3), a rematch of the past two MLS Cup finals when LA Galaxy host Houston Dynamo on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), a pair of clashes between arch-rivals Portland and Seattle (Aug. 25 and Oct. 13) and a late season California Clasico – LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Oct. 20).
The eight games on ESPN and 12 on ESPN2 will also be available on ESPN Deportes, ESPN3, WatchESPN, and ESPN Deportes Radio. Select ESPN and ESPN2 matches will be available in 3-D.
The NBC Sports Group, in the second season of its partnership with MLS, will air 41 regular season games. A total of 38 regular season games will air on NBC Sports Network, beginning with a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship – Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United on March 2 – the season opener for both teams.
NBC will broadcast three regular season games nationally: New York vs. D.C. United (March 16), Portland vs. LA Galaxy (Sept. 29) and D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo, on the final day of the regular season (Oct. 27).
Univision’s exclusive, Spanish-language broadcasts of 26 MLS regular season games begin on Univision with reigning MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy’s first game of the new season on March 3 against the Chicago Fire. The other 25 live matches will air on newly-branded UniMás and include two SuperClásicos – LA vs. Chivas USA (March 17) to close out Rivalry Week and a midseason rematch between the intra-city rivals (June 23). The Univision broadcast package also includes exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup 2013.