On Jan. 9, MLS and its national broadcast partners released the 2013 regular season schedule.
More than 90 percent of this year’s regular season games are on weekends or holidays, and none will overlap directly with FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches.
MLS kicks off the 2013 season with nine matches in the opening weekend of March 2-3. Over the 35-week season, each of the League’s 19 clubs will play 34 matches with 17 at home and 17 away. The schedule is regionally focused, so that each club plays more intra-conference games.
The 2013 regular season concludes Sunday, Oct. 27 with five games, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs. Of the two clubs to reach MLS Cup 2013, the one with a better regular season record will host the championship game on Dec. 7 or 8.
Rivalry Week: March 16-17
Eight of the nine matches in Week 3 are between regional rivals with conference pecking order and bragging rights at stake.
NBC Sports Group will air three of those rivalry games – one on NBC and two on NBC Sports Network – and provide unprecedented coverage of all the league’s action on March 16, with a special studio show.
2013 MLS broadcasts
All 323 matches will be televised live – 87 via national network partners ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Univision and UniMás in the U.S. Nationally in Canada, at least 30 games featuring Canadian clubs will air on TSN/TSN2 in English and RDS/RDS2 in French.
A partner since the League’s inaugural season, ESPN will air 20 regular season games, nearly all on Sunday. The eight games on ESPN and 12 on ESPN2 will also be available on ESPN Deportes, ESPN3, WatchESPN, and ESPN Deportes Radio. Select ESPN and ESPN2 matches will be available in 3-D.
The NBC Sports Group, in the second season of its partnership with MLS, will air 41 regular season games, including 38 regular season games on NBC Sports Network, beginning with a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship – Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United on March 2. NBC will broadcast three regular season games nationally: New York vs. D.C. United (March 16), Portland vs. LA Galaxy (Sept. 29) and D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo, on the final day of the regular season (Oct. 27).
Univision’s exclusive, Spanish-language broadcasts of 26 MLS regular season games begin with reigning MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy’s first game of the new season on March 3 against the Chicago Fire. The other 25 live matches will air on newly-branded UniMás. The Univision broadcast package also includes exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the AT&T MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup 2013.
The forthcoming TSN/TSN2 and RDS/RDS2 schedules will focus primarily on the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
All non-national TV games will be broadcast locally and/or via subscription to Direct Kick and MLS Live, the digital streaming package for MLSsoccer.com, mobile devices and tablets.