MLS club D.C. United has signed a multi-year contract with subscription-based streaming service FloSports. The platform is now the exclusive home to all locally televised D.C. United matches and will carry 21 of the club’s 34 regular season games in 2019.
WJLA 24/7 News (owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group) has locally televised United games within the Washington, D.C. area over the past three years. But as part of United’s new deal with FloSports, local games will stream only on FloSports’ new soccer-dedicated channel at FloFC.com. According to The Washington Post, the deal is for up to four years.
“The decision was very much based on what our options were and what was going to best for our fans to really connect with the team,” said Sam Porter, United’s senior VP for business and legal affairs, according to The Post. “When you look at all the cord-cutting that is going on, it’s really not as radical as it would have been a couple of years ago.”
The remaining 14 games that will not stream on FloSports in 2019 will be broadcast as nationally televised games on either Fox Sports, ESPN, or UniMas, which all have existing rights deals in place with MLS. In addition to streaming live games, FloSports’ new soccer platform will also feature pregame and postgame shows, offseason specials, and weekly original programming centered around the team.
“We are looking forward to bringing passionate D.C. United fans coverage of their favorite team both at home and away,” said Mike Levy, FloSports’ vice president of global rights acquisition, in a news release. “This partnership promises to expand coverage of one of the most competitive and exciting teams in the league, and we are honored they will call FloFC home.”
Fans will have the option of listening to commentary of United games in either English or Spanish as part of the deal with Flo Sports. The regional media partnership marks the first-ever agreement for FloSports with a team in one of North America’s “Big Five” professional sports leagues. After purchasing a monthly or annual FloSports subscription, fans can watch D.C. United games on smartphones, Roku, or Apple TV.
D.C. United is not the first MLS club to transition its regional media rights from cable TV to streaming. Last year, Los Angeles F.C. signed an exclusive partnership with YouTube TV to stream all the team’s locally-syndicated games during the club’s inaugural season. In addition to D.C. United matches, FloFC.com has exclusive live and on-demand rights deals to stream Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana matches to Canadian subscribers through a partnership with Italy’s Serie A soccer league. Other soccer content on FloFC includes more than 200 men’s and women’s Big Ten matches.
Read more: sporttechie.com