Last season marked the first year that every FC Dallas game was broadcast in English and Spanish.
This year, the Hoops have taken that a step further by expanding the radio network across Texas and into Austin (KTXX 103.5 FM) and San Antonio (KOKE 1600 AM). All 32 MLS regular season matches, the "FC Dallas Weekly" and "Esta Semana con FC Dallas" weekly hour-long shows will air in all three markets.
"Last year we had all of our games on English and Spanish and this will be our second year of that," said Matt McInnis, FC Dallas vice president of sponsorships and broadcasting. "I think this is a natural progression of that. We've kind of turned a corner in regards to our radio and TV and starting to get to where some of the other leagues are -- like the NFL. Of course we're not getting close to that [size], but we're getting there; we're taking some steps."
Both in the Texas Hill Country, Austin and San Antonio are about the same distance by car from Dallas and Houston, making the move by the Hoops an aggressive push to win over soccer fans throughout the state who now have a choice with Dynamo playing in Houston this season.
"San Antonio and Austin for us is important because we've got to reach a broader horizon than just the Dallas-Fort Worth area," said Matt McInnis. "We're bringing in fans from those areas as well, we've had soccer clinics down there and brought our players down for appearances. I think there is a fan base that's there and we were able to partner with 910 AM and they were able to get us on their brother and sister stations down there as well."
Ray Canevari, a 22-year broadcast veteran, will be the play-by-play voice of the FCD English broadcast for the second consecutive year. There will also be a few new wrinkles this season with a sideline reporter and correspondents across the country updating all of the action around MLS. Canevari's "FC Dallas Weekly" can be heard Thursday nights from 7-8 p.m. CT on KXEB 910 AM with regular appearances by head coach Colin Clarke, Hoops players and other guests live from Dave and Buster's in Frisco.
One of the longest tenured broadcasting teams in the league, Carlos Alvarado and Jesus Padilla, call matches on Spanish radio and host the weekly show "Esta Semana con FC Dallas" every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on KFCD 990AM.
The state-wide battle for soccer fans has begun in Texas and the Hoops have made a strong pledge in granting the San Antonio and Austin markets the ability to keep up with MLS, and FC Dallas in particular.
"It was part of our strategy to begin with, but obviously we're in a turf war now with Houston," said FC Dallas general manager Michael Hitchcock. "That makes it more interesting. We certainly hope that [Dynamo] are taking the same approach to it as we are because we are going to fight for the consumer and we want to be the most popular team in Texas."
Scott Joiner is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.