By RYAN TOLMICH
After signing a deal with Sky Sports last week, MLS has made another move toward expanding the league’s global footprint.
MLS announced Thursday that the league has signed a four-year deal with Eurosport to air MLS matches in Eurosport’s European territories, excluding the UK. As part of the agreement, up to four matches will be shown live each weekend along with a 30-minute preview show each Friday.
“It is a pleasure to be able to announce our support for the long-term vision of MLS,” Eurosport Group GEO Peter Hutton said. “We see the recent signings of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard as further proof of the willingness of the league and its owners to invest in globally recognized names. This can only help us grow MLS internationally, where we will look to show the league both live and in prime time to reach the maximum possible European audience.
“As we continue to improve the quality of Eurosport across the region, the new deal with the MLS is a significant step to increase our live football content as well as a sign of our belief in the potential of the league to continue to grow.”
Here are some more of Thursday’s MLS news and notes:
LALAS, STRONG, DONOVAN HIGHLIGHT FOX MLS BROADCAST TEAM
Fox has assembled a broadcast team of MLS veterans ahead of the 2015 season.
The channel’s head broadcasting team will consist of former player Alexi Lalas and veteran commentator John Strong. The recently retired Landon Donovan will serve as a guest analyst in a studio team that consists of Rob Stone, Eric Wynalda and Stuart Holden.
Fox signed an eight-year deal last May to broadcast MLS, joining ESPN and UniVision as the league’s domestic broadcast partners.
RED BULLS SIGN MCLAWS, OUIMETTE, ABANG
Just days before the 2015 regular season, the New York Red Bulls have completed a trio of new signings.
The Red Bulls announced Monday that the team has signed third-round pick Shawn McLaws, Canadian international defender Karl Ouimette and forward Anatole Abang, who joins from Rainbow FC in Cameroon.
“We’re excited about adding three quality young players to our team,” said Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis. “All three have done well in preseason, and we think they can add depth and value to our roster if they continue to develop and take strides forward.”
McLaws, a defender selected 59th overall in January’s draft, comes to the Red Bulls via Coastal Carolina, while Ouimette is reunited with head coach Jesse Marsch after previously playing for the Montreal Impact. Abang, an 18-year-0ld striker, previously appeared for Cameroon’s U-17 team.
“I’m pleased by what we’ve seen from Shawn, Karl and Abang,” said Marsch. “These three guys entered camp with very different playing backgrounds, but they’ve all progressed well and earned a spot. We think that they have potential and by keeping them in our environment and around our club they will continue to grow as players and down the line be a part of what we are building here.”
RAPIDS SIGN DRAFT PICK BADJI
After being selected in the fourth round of January’s draft, forward Dominique Badji has earned a place on the Colorado Rapids roster.
The Rapids announced Thursday that the club has signed Badji, the 67th overall selection out of Boston University.
“We saw Dominique in the MLS Player Combine and he performed well,” said Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We thought he could bring something to the group. Once he settled in with us he really found his game and showed his qualities. He is a dynamic player, good in the air and can finish well with both feet. He is a good guy, on and off the field.
“As a young player coming out of college he will need time to reach his full potential, however we are confident that he has the necessary attributes to develop into a top MLS striker.”
Badji had a strong preseason for the Rapids by scoring against UNLV and Sporting KC.
What do you think of the latest MLS broadcast deal? Excited by Fox’s broadcast team? How will the Red Bulls and Rapids’ new signings fare with their new clubs?
Share your thoughts below.