COLUMBUS, Ohio - Columbus Crew General Manager Mark McCullers announced today start times for The Crew's home schedule as well as its national television appearances for the 2005 season.
The Crew will be on national TV four times, with all four games being aired on ESPN2, which is tied for third most of any team in MLS. The four Crew appearances on ESPN2 are: D.C. United and Freddy Adu (Friday, April 15, at 8 p.m. at Crew Stadium); the Colorado Rapids (Saturday, June 11, at 4 p.m. at Crew Stadium); the Chicago Fire (Saturday, July 16, at 4 p.m. at Soldier Field); and FC Dallas (Saturday, Aug. 20, at 4 p.m. at Crew Stadium).
The Crew will kick off year No. 10 of MLS on Saturday, April 2, at Columbus Crew Stadium when the Black & Gold welcome Carlos Ruiz and the Los Angeles Galaxy to town for a 7:30 p.m. match-up.
MLS, together with the ABC and ESPN Networks, 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 and MLS Cup 2005.
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 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 visits San Jose live from Spartan Stadium (4 p.m. ET). Of the 26 games scheduled to be televised on ESPN2, five games will air during a "primetime" window, including two each on Friday and Saturday nights and one on Thursday evening. Primetime coverage begins with back-to-back Friday games in April, featuring D.C. United at Columbus (April 15) and the Chicago Fire at 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.
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.
The 2005 Crew season will be a 32-game slate, including 16 home games and 16 road games. The Crew home schedule will feature 12 Saturday games, three Wednesday games and one Friday game.
Columbus will take on its five Eastern Conference foes four times each (two home, two away), while playing the six Western Conference teams twice (one home, one away).
The three Wednesday night games will be famous "Johnsonville Buck-A-Brat Nights" at Crew Stadium. Eastern Conference rival D.C. United visits Crew Stadium twice, on Friday, April 15 and on Saturday, July 2, as part of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Fellow East rival Chicago also makes two trips to Columbus, on Saturday, April 30, and Saturday, September 17.
The two new expansion teams will also make their first trips to Crew Stadium, with Real Salt Lake visiting on Saturday, May 21, and Chivas USA on Saturday, October 1.
Currently, the only way to get tickets to Crew home games is to purchase a season-ticket package. Interested parties can call 614-447-Crew or visit the official website at TheCrew.com for details and pricing.