Big event schedule enhancements once again headline the 2016 schedule. Along with the return of two editions of MLS Heineken Rivalry Week, showcasing the most anticipated rivalry matches of the season, the 2016 schedule creates unprecedented viewing events throughout the season from March to Soccer - culminating in a new Week One format - through the final weeks of the season with action packed, simultaneous starts for Week 33 and Decision Day.
CLICK HERE to view the 2016 MLS regular season schedule.
Major League Soccer’s 21st season kicks off with March to Soccer that will see all 20 clubs playing on day one of the season, Sunday, March 6, including four marquee matches broadcast live by the League’s national television partners. First is a rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup as the defending champion Portland Timbers welcome Kei Kamara and Columbus Crew SC on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 4:30 p.m. ET. FS1 and FOX Deportes will showcase Clint Dempsey-led Seattle Sounders FC versus Benny Feilhaber’s Sporting Kansas City at 7 p.m. ET; TSN and RDS will air Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s home opener vs. the Montreal Impact in Canada at 5:30 pm ET; while UniMás closes out the night by featuring a match between five-time MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy and four-time champions D.C. United at 10 p.m. ET. In addition to the live game telecasts, all the day’s action will be showcased through expanded coverage across partner and League digital and social platforms – bringing highlights of every game to fans throughout the day.
Major League Soccer’s most heated rivalries, both on the field and in the stands, will be on display during the two MLS Heineken Rivalry Weeks, May 20-22 and August 26-28. The first installment marks the inaugural MLS match on FOX broadcast network as NYCFC host the New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, May 21 at 3 p.m. ET. In addition, Friday night, UniMás will air an I-95 corridor matchup between Philadelphia Union and D.C. United and Sunday will feature a doubleheader with ESPN broadcasting Cascadia Cup rivals Portland Timber vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 4:30 p.m. ET and the first of three California Clasico games pitting the San Jose Earthquakes against the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET.
The action continues in the second edition of MLS Heineken Rivalry Week with UniMás broadcasting the Rocky Mountain Cup match between Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids from Rio Tinto Stadium at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday games that include the 401 Derby game between Toronto FC and Montreal Impact (time TBD) and the Texas Derby between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas at BBVA Compass Stadium (time TBD). Rounding out the weekend on Sunday, Aug. 28 will be the ESPN doubleheader with New England Revolution hosting Eastern Conference foe New York Red Bulls at 2:30 p.m. ET, and Portland hosting Seattle at 5 p.m. ET, and the clash of 2015 expansion sides Orlando City SC vs. New York City SC on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET.
Both Week 33 and Decision Day will feature flex scheduling allowing ESPN, FS1, and UniMás to decide which matches to telecast late in the season, bringing the fans the most compelling games as the dust settles over the Cup Playoff landscape. All other games will be showcased, on both weekends, across network and League digital platforms to ensure fans do not miss a minute of the action, with national broadcast partners providing unprecedented coverage of not only their scheduled matchups, but across the league with live look-ins at the other games. League digital coverage will allow fans to fully immerse in all the action with up-to-the-minute stats and complete highlights from every game. MLS will also expand on the social media conversation around these two weeks, which last year saw over 100 million engagements across League social platforms on Decision Day alone.
Following the first year of an eight-year agreement, MLS returns to FOX networks this season. For the first time in league history, MLS action will air nationally on FOX broadcast television with four matches on FOX – each of these telecasts will include an expanded 30-minute pregame show. Highlights of FOX’s broadcast coverage include a New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls match on May 21 live from Yankee Stadium, part of MLS Heineken Rivalry Week, which will serve as the debut game on the FOX broadcast network and is part of a FOX network soccer doubleheader that includes live coverage of the FA Cup Final from England.
FOX’s remaining 30 matches will air once again on FS1, with a majority of matches remaining in primetime on Sunday evenings. All matches on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes are available via the FOX Sports GO and FOX Soccer 2Go apps, and on the web through FOXSportsGO.com.
A partner since the League’s inception in 1996, ESPN’s MLS coverage in 2016 will again establish a consistent programming window on Sundays with 29 games on ESPN and five on ESPN2. The games will also be simulcast on ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language sports network and streamed live on WatchESPN and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes+. Select broadcasts will feature enhanced MLS match coverage including expanded windows for pregame shows, allowing for additional analysis and highlights from around the league.
Taking advantage of the global soccer calendar, ESPN has aligned MLS coverage with five 2016 UEFA European Championship match dates. Each of the dates will consist of Euro 2016 matches and an MLS Soccer Sunday game of the week on ESPN or ESPN2, including the New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers on July 10, the day of the UEFA EURO 2016 title match.
Following the highly-successful inaugural season of Viernes de Futbol (Friday Night Soccer) last year that featured matches broadcast in English via SAP, Univision will continue its exclusive Friday night package in 2016. This season, 28 matches will be broadcast on UniMás, an increase from 18 in 2015, with Univision Deportes Network (UDN) simulcasting select matches. UniMás and UDN will also have select matches on other nights of the week in 2016, including the San Jose Earthquakes hosting the LA Galaxy on June 25 at Stanford Stadium as a doubleheader with the Copa America Centenario third place match. Additionally, UDN will continue to broadcast its weekly MLS highlight show, Somos MLS, on Sundays in primetime. This marks the 10th consecutive season of MLS coverage through Univision Deportes.
Non-national TV, local market games will be played on Saturdays, with intermittent mid-week matches, and will be broadcast locally and/or via the League’s subscription digital out-of-market package, MLS LIVE, and linear television product, MLS Direct Kick.
All 340 regular season games will also be broadcast internationally. MLS now reaches more than 140 nations and territories through the League’s global broadcast partners which include Sky Sports in the UK, pan-European broadcaster Eurosport, Globosat in Brazil, Abu Dhabi Media in the Middle East and North Africa, Letv Sports in mainland China, beIN SPORTS across Southeast Asia and Australia, FOX Sports Latin America, FOX Sports Africa, and ESPN across their international platforms in Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania.
Other Highlights of the 2016 MLS Regular Season Schedule:
·Similar to a World Cup year, the 2016 schedule allows for a break in MLS action during the Copa America Centenario group stage, June 3 -14.
·The 2016 season will also see the AT&T MLS All-Star game return to ESPN, as well as UniMas, TSN and RDS, live from Avaya Stadium, home of the San Jose Earthquakes, the last week in July. Additional details about the match date and opponent will be released in the coming weeks.
- Details, including broadcast information, for the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup will be announced at a later date.
Increased presence across ESPN, FOX, and Univision Deportes networks; MLS Soccer Sunday and Viernes de Futbol return
March to Soccer, MLS Heineken Rivalry Weeks, Decision Day and new schedule enhancements highlight 2016 schedule