Washington, D.C. - Broadcast partners D.C. United and Comcast SportsNet announced today a long-term agreement to air D.C. United games on the regional sports outlet. This marks the ninth season Comcast SportsNet and D.C. United have partnered to air D.C. United matches. Highlights to the current agreement, a multi-year deal, include a record-high 19 live game broadcasts for 2005 with pre-game elements and a live post-game show and high definition production of home telecasts. The agreement ensures that 29 of United's 32 League matches will be televised this season, also a record-high. Comcast SportsNet coverage begins on Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET, when the Black-and-Red hosts the Columbus Crew.
"We're very pleased to enter into this long-term partnership with Comcast SportsNet," said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. "Our games have been broadcast on CSN since our first year in 1996. We've seen our ratings steadily climb and we've enjoyed a great relationship with our broadcast partner. We look forward to working together to bring the excitement of D.C. United soccer to our fans for many years to come."
Comcast SportsNet, a division of Comcast Corporation, is a service of Philadelphia-based Comcast Regional Sports Television serving more than 4.7 million homes in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington D.C., via more than 200 cable systems in the mid-Atlantic region and major satellite services. The network is home to coverage of the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Wizards, and D.C. United, as well as original programming featuring the region's professional, minor league, and collegiate teams.
"We are thrilled to continue our relationship with D.C. United and offer fans 19 games this season, as well as live post-game coverage for the first time," said Sam Schroeder, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. "They are a championship team both on the field and in the community and we are excited by our partnership."
Veteran broadcaster Dave Johnson returns for his tenth season as the television voice of D.C. United. One of the premier soccer announcers in the United States, Johnson has done play-by-play of outdoor and indoor soccer for much of the past decade, appearing on Comcast SportsNet, Prime Network and ESPN. He also serves as the radio play-by-play voice of the Washington Wizards and can be heard on WTOP Radio as the station's morning sports anchor, where he has won three A.I.R. awards as best radio sportscaster in Washington.
John Harkes will be joining Johnson as color analyst for D.C. United broadcasts. Harkes, who serves as Director of Youth Development for the Black-and-Red, enters his first year as Johnson's broadcast partner. Previously, Harkes co-hosted the 2003 edition of MLS Wrap on Fox Soccer Channel. Harkes, an American soccer legend who will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in August, captained D.C. United to their 1996 and 1997 MLS Cup Championships.
D.C. United will make six other appearances on national television in addition to their Comcast SportsNet schedule. They will next be seen on espn2 during their May 14 game in New England, set for 4:00 p.m. EST.