Major League Soccer is entering a new era. Last year, it signed a new eight-year contract with ESPN, Fox and Univision which the league hopes will give MLS more exposure, consistent TV times and when it all ends, it hopes for better ratings, increased viewership and more popularity among sports fans.

What fans will notice off the bat will be national games on Fridays and Sundays. Univision’s UniMás or Univision Deportes will have an exclusive Friday night Game of the Week. ESPN (mostly ESPN2) and Fox (mostly Fox Sports 1) will split a doubleheader on Sundays between 5 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET with mainly Eastern Conference games airing in the early window.

There will be two new features this season that will attempt to generate excitement during the last two weeks of the regular season. October 18 will allow both ESPN and Fox to pick any game of their choosing (except for UniMás’ Friday night game). This will be a flex window for the networks. Then in what the league is calling “Decision Day” similar to the English Premier League’s Relegation Sunday where all teams will play on the same day (October 25) with the Eastern Conference playing at 5 p.m. ET and the Western Conference at 7 p.m.

Here’s how things break down:

ESPN

  • ESPN’s English-language networks air 34 regular season games, most will air on ESPN2.
    • ESPN and ESPNews will air one game each. An undetermined ESPN network will air another game;
  • ESPN Deportes airs a total of 34 games.
  • 29 games will air on Sundays at 5 p.m. ET.
  • ESPN gets a flex schedule pick on October 18 and a “Decision Day” game on October 25.
  • ESPN has all digital rights to all games not televised nationally and can stream them either on ESPN3/WatchESPN or through an Over the Top subscription to cord cutters.

Here’s the 2015 MLS on ESPN schedule:

Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Sun, March 8 5 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 15 5 p.m. New York City FC vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 22 5 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. DC United ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 29 5 p.m. Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 5 5 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 12 5 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City SC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 19 5 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 26 5 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 3 5 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 10 5 p.m. Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Wed, May 13 8 p.m. DC United vs. Orlando City SC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 17 5 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Wed, May 20 8 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 31 5 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, June 7 5 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids ESPNEWS/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  June 21 5 p.m. DC United vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Wed,  June 24 11 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  June 28 5 p.m. New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 5 5 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 12 5 p.m. New York City FC vs. Toronto FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 19 5 p.m. Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 26 5 p.m. DC United vs. Philadelphia Union ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 2 5 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 9 4 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 16 5 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. Orlando City SC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 23 5 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York City FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 30 5 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Sept 13 5 p.m. Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Sept 20 5 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Sept 27 5 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, Oct 4 5 p.m. FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Oct 18 5 p.m. TBD – MLS Flex Schedule ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, Oct 25 7 p.m. TBD – MLS Decision Day ESPN2/ESPN Deportes

FOX SPORTS

  • Fox Sports will carry 34 regular season games, all except one will air on Fox Sports 1
  • Fox Deportes will simulcast all of FS1/FS2 games.
  • All except six games will air at 7 p.m. ET.
  • Fox Sports 1 will carry two Sunday night doubleheaders.
  • Fox gets a flex scheduling pick on October 18 and one game on “Decision Day,” October 25.

Here’s the MLS on Fox schedule for 2015:

Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Sun, March 8 7 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, March 8 9 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. New England Revolution Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, March 15 7 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, March 22 7 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, March 29
7 p.m. Real Salt Lake FC vs. Toronto FC
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, April 5 7 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, April 12 7 p.m. LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, April 19 7 p.m. New York City FC vs. Portland Timbers
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, April 26
7 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. Toronto FC
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, April 26
9 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, May 3 7 p.m. New York City FC vs. Seattle Sounders
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, May 10 7 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, May 17 7 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. DC United
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, May 24 7 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Orlando City SC
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, May 31
7 p.m. New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, June 7 7 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, June 14 7 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. DC United
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, June 21 10 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, June 28
7 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, July 12 7 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake
Fox Sports 2/Fox Deportes
Sun, July 19 7 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New York Red Bulls
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, July 26 2:30 p.m. New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Aug 2 7 p.m. Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Aug 9 7 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Aug 16 7 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Aug 30 7 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. DC United
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Sept 6
7 p.m. Columbus Crew vs. FC Dallas
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Sept 13 7 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. Sporting Kansas City
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Sept 20 7 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Sept 27 7 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Oct 4 9:30 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy
Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Oct 18 7 p.m. TBD – MLS Flex Schedule Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
Sun, Oct 25 5 p.m. TBD – MLS Decision Day Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes

UNIVISION

  • Univision’s networks air a total of 34 regular season games.
    • Unimás will air 22 games.
    • Univision Deportes will carry 11 games.
    • A Univision network will carry one additional game.
  • All except for two will air on Friday nights.
  • UniMás and Univision Deportes will carry five consecutive doubleheaders between April 24 and May 22.
  • UniMás and Univision Deportes will carry one game each on “Decision Day,” October 25.
  • All of Univision’s games will be aired in Spanish, but English can be heard on the “SAP” channel.
  • All of Univision’s games will be streamed online and can be accessed through cable and satellite authentication.

Here’s the 2015 MLS on Univision schedule:

Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Fri, March 6 10 p.m. LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire
UniMás
Fri, March 13 7 p.m. Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City SC
UniMás
Fri, March 20 7 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas
UniMás
Fri, April 3
7 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. DC United
UniMás
Fri, April 10 7 p.m. FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids
UniMás
Fri, April 17 7 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes
UniMás
Fri, April 24 7 p.m. Chicago Fire vs. New York City FC
UniMás
Fri, April 24 10 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 1 8 p.m. Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 1 10 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 8 8 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 8 10 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 15 7 p.m. New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 15 9 p.m. FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls Univision Deportes
Fri, May 22
8 p.m. Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 22
10 p.m. LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo
Univision Deportes
Fri, May 29
9 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas
UniMás
Fri, June 5 9 p.m. Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls UniMás
Fri, June 19
9 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas
UniMás
Fri, June 26
9 p.m. FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo
UniMás
Fri, July 3 9 p.m. Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire Univision Deportes
Fri, July 3
11 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. DC United UniMás
Fri, July 10 11 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo
UniMás
Fri, July 17
11 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes
UniMás
Fri, July 24
11 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City
UniMás
Fri, Aug 7 11 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire
UniMás
Fri, Aug 14 11 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids
UniMás
Fri, Aug 21
11 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo
UniMás
Fri, Aug 28
11 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy
UniMás
Fri, Sept 11 7 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire
UniMás
Fri, Sept 18
7 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas UniMás
Fri, Sept 25
7 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City SC
UniMás
Fri, Oct 2 7 p.m. DC United vs. New York City FC
UniMás
Fri, Oct 16 7 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC UniMás
Sun, Oct 25 5 p.m. TBD – MLS Decision Day UniMás
Sun, Oct 25 5 p.m. TBD – MLS Decision Day Univision Deportes

We should get details of how the ESPN online package will be available to consumers later this month.

[Philly.com]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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