MLS unveils 10th Season national TV schedule
NEW YORK - Major League Soccer, together with the ABC and ESPN Networks, today unveiled the 2005 national television schedule for the League's 10th Season. The networks will combine to air 29 games live nationally beginning with the ABC broadcast of the League's first game of the year on April 2. ESPN2 will air 26 live regular season games in addition to three MLS Cup Playoff games in 2005, while ABC will also broadcast the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game in July as well as MLS Cup 2005 on Sunday, November 13.
ABC enters its 10th season of MLS broadcasts with the live telecast of First Kick 2005 featuring defending MLS Cup champions D.C. United visiting expansion team Club Deportivo Chivas USA, which will be making its MLS debut at The Home Depot Center on Saturday, April 2 at 3:00 p.m. ET. ABC Sports will once again televise both the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game on July 30 (3:30 p.m. ET) and MLS Cup 2005 on November 13 from the Frisco Soccer and Entertainment Center, home of FC Dallas (3:30 p.m. ET). The location of the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game is yet to be announced.
Coverage on ESPN2 begins on April 9 when Chivas USA, led by Ramon Ramirez, visits the San Jose Earthquakes live from Spartan Stadium (4:00 p.m. ET). Of the 26 games scheduled to be televised on ESPN2, five games will air during a "primetime" window, beginning with back-to-back Friday games in April, featuring Freddy Adu and D.C. United visiting Danny Szetela and the Columbus (April 15) and the Chicago Fire taking on Amado Guevara and the MetroStars (April 22). ESPN2 will also carry an MLS Cup Playoff game on two consecutive weekends in October in addition to a Conference Championship game on November 6.
Each of the 12 teams will have at least two games televised on ESPN2 during the regular season D.C. United leading the pack with eight games. Chivas USA will appear on seven occasions, while fellow expansion team Real Salt Lake with returning U.S. national team Clint Mathis joins five other teams to appear four times (San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles Galaxy, MetroStars, Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire). Three Kansas City Wizards games will be featured with the Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution and FC Dallas each appearing twice.
Among the featured matchups is the first game between Rocky Mountain regional rivals Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake, on April 16 from Rice-Eccles Stadium (3:00 p.m. ET). On April 23 fans will also have the chance to tune in to the first of four highly anticipated local derbies between Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center, with the Galaxy as the home team (10:00 p.m. ET). Two rematches between MLS Cup 2004 finalists D.C. United and the Kansas City Wizards are also part of the schedule, as well as a game between RSL and Eddie Johnson-led FC Dallas at the new Frisco Soccer and Entertainment Center.
The HDNet, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español national television schedules, each MLS club's regional television schedules, and the MLS Direct Kick season package on cable and satellite will be announced in the coming weeks.