NEW YORK (October 4, 2016) – Major League Soccer today announced that ESPN and ESPN Deportes will air an MLS Soccer Sunday doubleheader on October 16 for Week 33, as teams head into the Final Push to the Playoffs. As part of the enhanced broadcast schedule for 2016, the final two weeks of the season feature flex scheduling, allowing ESPN, FS1, and Univision Deportes to select the most compelling games as the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs landscape takes shape. MLS games in Week 33 will air in more than 170 countries.
Week 33 will see all 10 MLS matches consist of intraconference games pitting East against East and West against West as teams battle for final postseason positioning. All Eastern Conference matchups will start at 3 p.m. ET and all Western Conference matchups will kick off at 5 p.m. ET. With only three playoff spots remaining in the Eastern Conference, ESPN has selected to air the Canadian clash of Didier Drogba, Ignacio Piatti and the Montreal Impact hosting Toronto FC, with U.S. Men’s National Team stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, alongside reigning MVP Sebastian Giovinco, at 3 p.m. ET. The Impact, battling for one of the remaining playoff spots, would punch their ticket for the postseason with a win, while Toronto, who have already clinched a spot in the postseason, look to regain the top spot in the East. ESPN’s broadcast will bring all of the game action from Stade Saputo while including live look-ins at the other four Eastern Conference games. TSN2 and RDS will also carry the game while the other four Eastern Conference matches will be available simultaneously on MLS LIVE and through each club’s regional broadcast partner.
Following the Eastern Conference offering, ESPN will head over to the West Conference and go live from Providence Park in Portland as the Timbers look to climb above the red line into playoff contention by earning crucial points against the playoff-bound Colorado Rapids. With two games in hand over fellow Western Conference power FC Dallas, Colorado have their eye on Supporters’ Shield honors and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The remaining four Western Conference matches will be available on MLS LIVE and regional broadcast partners in the U.S. while TSN2 will air the San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC match in Canada.
Accompanying the four hours of ESPN match coverage, MLS will help fans experience all the drama and excitement of the playoff race with live pre- and post-game shows across multiple digital channels, including the MLS Facebook page, MLS YouTube channel, and on broadcast partner platforms ESPN3 and TSNGO. Beginning at 2 p.m. ET, the “MLS Matchday Live – Week 33 Pregame” show will include in-depth previews of all Week 33 matchups, as well as host Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC for the Expansion Priority Draft. At the conclusion of the day's action, the “MLS Matchday Live – Week 33 Postgame” show will break it all down with expert analysis and fan interaction through social channels. Special guests for both shows will include former MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Heath Pearce and former Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath.
For Decision Day in Week 34, the final day of the regular season, fans will again enjoy exclusively intraconference matches, but the intensity climbs to a new level as all 10 games will be played simultaneously at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 23. ESPN, FS1 and UniMás will each select one key matchup to air as the postseason picture is decided in one final flurry of action to settle the standings and determine who is in, and who is out of the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Additional coverage details and the broadcast schedule for #DecisionDay will be announced on Monday, Oct. 17.
Week 33 – October 16, 2016 – Schedule: