A couple of big broadcast stories are circulating the web on the eve of the big BeIN Sport debut. We’ll start in Canada, where the league and its Canadian broadcast partner TSN announced a 41 game television package for the 2013 season. The deal includes all thirty games as part of the national package and an 11 game TFC deal. Each of the 41 games will include one of the three Canadian franchises. French-language broadcaster RDS will broadcast more than 30 games, including 12 match-ups featuring the Montreal Impact.
All of the games will also be available online through the station websites. The package will also include the playoffs and All-Star Game. From the official release: “Headlined by international and homegrown superstars, Major League Soccer has developed an intense level of play across the league that translates into some incredibly entertaining soccer for fans,” said Shawn Redmond, Vice-President of Programming, TSN. “On the heels of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC becoming the country’s first team to make it to the playoffs and the Montreal Impact’s exciting league debut, we are proud to kick off another season of MLS ON TSN including expanded coverage of a reinvigorated Toronto FC.”
The other big news comes by way of Fox and SI.com, which revealed that Gus Johnson is preparing to become the top soccer voice of the network that will televise the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Johnson is known as a great basketball voice, but is now trying to make the difficult transition to the beautiful game. Last May we wrote “The internet has been abuzz with news that renown broadcaster Gus Johnson is moving to the world of soccer. Johnson has recently taken in some soccer matches in Europe and has started doing San Jose matches on the radio. Click here for a great interview with Johnson about soccer, broadcasting and the possibility that he could become a lead voice for Fox.”
Johnson has cache among sports fans and is going about this process the “right way” by starting on the radio, absorbing the game and moving to television. I think this is a good move for the network and there is ample time for them to decide if this is a good fit. Few in sports have a following like Bill Simmons and he was excited enough about the move to tweet it to his followers. Johnson will generate buzz, which is good for the game and good for Fox.
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