February 6, 2023

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MLS is putting the finishing touches on Apple TV talent, and the owners are looking at the best of the three splitter format: Sources

Major League Soccer is finalizing the list of play-by-play and color commentators who will serve as talent for MLS Season Pass broadcasts on Apple TV, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Those sources spoke on condition of anonymity to preserve their relationship with MLS executives. Former ESPN commentator Taylor Twellman, who announced last week that he was leaving the network, is among the broadcasters who have reached agreements with MLS.

Those likely to be on that list, or are in various stages of discussions, are play-by-play commentators Keith Costigan, Ed Cohen, Steve Kangalosi, Tyler Terence, Eric Krakauer, and Kevin Egan. The color commentators include Brian Donseth, Lloyd Sam, Kendra D. St. Aubyn, Ross Smith, Tony Meola and Jimmy Watson. Sources said former MLS players Maurice Edu, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sasha Kljestan are in advanced talks with the MLS.

Update: In a press release on Tuesday, MLS Confirmed the following talents have been signed: Max Britos, Steve Cangelosi, Jake Ziven, Pablo Ramirez (in Spanish), Frederic Lord (in French) to play by, Match Analysts: Kendra de Saint-Aubin, Maurice Eddo, Laurie Lindsay, Daniel Slaton, Taylor Twellman, Marcelo Balboa (Spanish), Sebastien Le Toux (French), Sasha Kljestan, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Diego Valeri (Spanish) and Studio Hosts: Liam McHugh, Gillian Sakovits, Tony Churchi (Spanish).

MLS is expected to unveil at least some of the talent on Tuesday as part of a pre-season media event in California. Other broadcasters not mentioned above will be included in the full list of commentators. Among the final group of commentators, some will guarantee a minimum number of matches over the course of the season while others will have more flexible arrangements.

Some well-known names who have been told they won’t be part of the primary coverage trend but could appear in some capacity down the road include JP Dellacamera, Dave Johnson, and Shep Messing.

Multiple sources said there is some concern about how much is left in the air near the season, which begins in 47 days on February 25. The league has elected to turn game production over to sports media giant IMG, the sources said. Multiple sources said IMG has hired John McGuinness, who has worked on the NHL and Olympic broadcasts, as one of its top MLS producers.

The league and Apple announced a 10-year, $2.5 billion broadcast deal last June that will see the tech giant air every MLS regular season and playoff game on its Apple TV streaming service starting this season. However, most of these matches will be shown on the MLS Season Pass subscription service More than 40 percent of them It will be freely available.

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The league previously announced that the Season Pass will cost $12.99 per month or $79 per season for already Apple TV+ subscribers, and $14.99 per month or $99 per season for non-subscribers. MLS Season Pass holders receive one free subscription to the service per account.

The new season pass The app will also include a large amount of club-created content on channels called “club rooms”. According to an internal league document obtained by him the athlete This week, Club Rooms requires specific content before and during the season, including club profiles, player profiles, and a fan/culture-specific feature called “Rituals.” These channels will also feature videos about club “legends”, team lore and big games in the team’s history, as well as weekly and monthly content during the season, including first team reports, player interviews, MLS Next Pro, academy reports and community reports.

MLS will also broadcast matches on linear television: 34 regular season and eight postseason matches will be broadcast on Fox networks, 21 League Cup matches will be shown on Univision / UniMás / TUDN in the US and a large number of matches will be shown on TSN and RDS in Canada.

The league is a best-of-three series in the playoffs

Multiple sources have said that MLS is considering changing its playoff format to include a best-of-three series in the first round the athlete.

If adopted, the first round would likely only be contested as a best-of-three contest. The sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the proposed changes, said the remainder of the tournament would likely be single-elimination. The proposed format would be broken down by conference and would include 16 teams, eight each from the East and West.

Sources did not know the exact details of how a potential best-of-three series would be contested, but several noted that MLS used the format for the opening two rounds of the playoffs during its early years. In that series, the first team to get five points advanced, with additional time added to the third game in the event that the regulation teams finished tied at three or four points.

The sources said the best-of-three proposal now appears more likely to be adopted than the previously discussed proposal which would have changed the format of matches to include group stages and knockout stages. This was the proposal previously revealed the athlete in October.

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As I mentioned the athlete In October, MLS is looking to increase its total number of playoff appearances from 13 in 2022 to around 30. Sources said the league is looking to do this in part so it can increase its overall stash of first-game playoffs. General New Media Rights Agreement.

Competing in eight best-of-three first-round series before moving to a single-elimination format in the conference semifinals would give MLS between 23 and 31 overall playoff appearances.

The sources said the format, which would have included a group stage and a knockout stage, is now more of a best-of-three show because the league does not want to end up in a situation where teams play a group stage. A match that will have no effect on the teams that qualify for the knockout round.

The sources also warned that none of the proposed new liquidation formulas has been approved. League owners must sign off on the changes before the season opener on February 25 for them to take effect in 2023.

Sources are optimistic that MLS will allow transfers within the league

Momentum is building within MLS to create a transfer market within the league, according to some sources the athlete Such a mechanism would be introduced as soon as this summer.

Currently, MLS teams are not allowed to buy/sell players for cash to/from other MLS teams. They can trade it for allocating money, but this is not real currency, just a multilateral budgeting device. The policy made sense during the league’s tumultuous beginnings, when multiple teams were controlled by some owners, but MLS has grown to the point where the internal market can easily be beneficial. There has been some concern in creating new fields as teams have to pay coaching compensation to fellow MLS clubs due to inside sales. These payments are avoided with trades. There were also questions about how it would be legally implemented because all players were contracted to MLS, not to specific clubs, and so technically it is not a club-to-club sale. The sources were not clear how these questions would be answered if a transfer market was introduced within the league.

Allowing teams to buy and sell players internally would create an additional revenue stream for selling clubs and add another mechanism to help keep talented players in the league.

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The sources were not sure how exactly the transfer market would work within the league if it was approved. One source predicted that players who already make more than the maximum budget fee ($651,250 in 2023) or those whose new teams plan to immediately award them a contract that would take their salaries above the maximum budget fee would be eligible for intra-league transfers. The same source expected transfer fees within the league to be factored into the team’s budget in the same way they are factored into the current system; The buying team will amortize the fee and add it to the player’s paycheck to generate their budget fee, while the selling team will either be able to take the cash out or convert at least part of it into general allocation money.

The introduction of a transfer market within the league has been a hugely popular idea in football the athleteAnonymous 2022 Survey of MLS Executiveswith 21 out of 21 executives surveyed saying they wanted the league to let them.

“The most successful leagues, the most active transfer market is an internal market,” said one executive. “By definition, when I’m looking to sell a player, I cut off a potential sales channel. It doesn’t make sense. And it’s not just that the bigger clubs will buy from the smaller ones. If a big club wants to go and get a better DP than the club they currently have, they might take another DP (Current Senior Club).They might say, “I know him, he’s in the league, and I’d rather pay to get him than go to South America and try something less certain. ‘I just see multiple benefits. Why don’t we?'”

“Yeah sure. One hundred percent (we should have one),” added another. “I didn’t get it. Why, if there is a player who is so good, so fit in the league, should he leave the league if the club can’t offer a better contract or wants to sell? Why doesn’t another team buy him as a DP? Or if he’s a team Like Salt Lake have occupied all three players and they can’t make a player like (Damir) Kreilach DP and they have to sell the player but we can’t buy him. Why? Why let the players walk instead of creating a new market?”

(Photo: Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images)