August 4, 2006

ESPN renews rights to Major League Soccer games

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co.'s sports cable
network ESPN said on Friday it secured an eight-year renewal
for rights to televise Major League Soccer games.

The agreement with Soccer United Marketing, or SUM, calls
for ESPN2 to televise 26 regular-season and three playoff Major
League Soccer matches each year during prime-time on Thursdays
until 2014.

Sister network ABC will present the league's season-opening
match, All-Star game and the Major League Soccer Cup.

Disney did not disclose what the two networks paid for the

Content generated under the agreement can also appear on
ESPN's multimedia distribution platforms, including ESPN360,
Mobile ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

ESPN also has the right to offer in-progress and post-match
highlights across all its outlets.

ESPN signed its first agreement with Major League Soccer in
1994, two years before the league's debut. ABC began
broadcasting Major League Soccer in 1997.

Last November, ABC and ESPN paid $100 million for the
English-language rights to air World Cup soccer and other
events from 2007 to 2014.