Major League Soccer on NBC networks in '12

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Major League Soccer on NBC networks in '12

Aug. 10, 2011MLS PAGE EARTHQUAKES PAGEEARTHQUAKES TV SCHEDULE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Soccer games will be televised by NBC's networks starting next season, doubling the number of homes that dozens of games will be available in.

The package currently on Fox Soccer Channel will move mainly to the NBC Sports Network, Versus' new name beginning Jan. 2. The cable channel will air 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two U.S. men's national team matches each year.

NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two national team appearances under the three-year contract announced Wednesday.

"It shows our sport is ready for prime time," MLS Commissioner Don Garber told The Associated Press.

The deal became possible after Comcast, Versus' parent company, officially took over NBCUniversal in January. Not only will a handful of games be available to a broader audience on NBC, but Garber is confident soccer will get invaluable exposure through advertising during the network's coverage of other sports, from "Sunday Night Football" to the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Olympics.

"NBC is really famous for promoting their partners, and that's a big driver in our decision to do a deal with them," Garber said.

Hockey, shown on both NBC and Versus since before the Comcast merger, has seen significant ratings growth in recent years.

"What they've done for the NHL I think is remarkable," Garber said.

Five regional Comcast sports networks also already broadcast games for their local MLS teams, adding to the opportunities for cross-promotion.

"Connecting the dots between all of their assets will ensure a broader audience for MLS and U.S. Soccer, and that's really what this sport needs today," Garber said. "If you look at the popularity of the World Cup and the almost ubiquity of the sport in America today, it's a natural step we would evolve from what was a great relationship with Fox Soccer Channel, albeit a niche network, to broader broadcast, cable and digital platforms."

ESPN will continue to broadcast its package of MLS games. Its strong ratings for last year's World Cup were among many signs that the sport is becoming more of a force in American television.

"I don't think the NBC deal is done if they didn't believe MLS was ready to step further into the mainstream," Garber said.

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus called MLS "a perfect fit for our new group."

"We are uniquely positioned to help grow soccer in the United States with extensive coverage on NBC Sports Network, significant programming on the broadcast network and our growing digital platforms," he said in a release.

International Champions Cup brings Real Madrid, Machester United to Levi's

International Champions Cup brings Real Madrid, Machester United to Levi's

SAN JOSE -- Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, announced today that Spanish giants Real Madrid and English powerhouse Manchester United will meet on Sunday, July 23 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. as part of the 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken.

The match will kickoff at 2:00 p.m. PT and be aired on ESPN.

"The Bay Area continues to draw world-class soccer events," said Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. "With major clubs such as Manchester United returning year after year, it is a testament to the passionate fan base and the top-notch facilities we can provide."

Real Madrid and Manchester United are both poised for success in their current campaigns, with recent domestic triumphs extending to their international competitions. With a plethora of multinational superstars, Real Madrid sits atop La Liga with their sights set on adding to their record 32 league titles. Led by FIFA Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and Welsh phenomenon Gareth Bale, Real Madrid has advanced to the knockout stage of the 2017 Champions League in hopes of retaining their title.

Perennial power Manchester United is led by Zlatan Ibrahimović, the team's top goal-scorer, and English legend Wayne Rooney.

As the home of the 5-time Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers, Levi's Stadium sits near one of America's greatest sports cities. Opened in 2014, Levi's Stadium was chosen as the site of Super Bowl 50 and has already played host to two ICC matches. The stadium has been named Venue of the Year, by The Stadium Business Awards and Sports Facility of the Year by Sports Business Journal while proving to be a leader in stadium technology.

Tickets for the Real Madrid v. Manchester United matchup at Levi's Stadium will go on sale to the general public beginning Tuesday, April 4. Fans can find all venue-specific and other ticket information at www.internationalchampionscup.com.

"Last year we saw a clash of giants when Liverpool defeated AC Milan in front of a sellout crowd here at Levi's Stadium," said Charlie Stillitano, Chairman at Relevent Sports. "The battle between famed English and Spanish clubs continues again this year when Manchester United matches up against reigning Champions League titleholders Real Madrid. Both teams field exceptional rosters full of world-class talent and are managed by two of the best in Mourinho and Zidane. The ICC is thrilled to return for a third consecutive year to Levi's Stadium and the Bay Area where the growth and passion for soccer is unparalleled."

"To have Relevent Sports bring the International Champions Cup back to Levi's Stadium for a third year in-a-row is a real testament to the fans in the Bay Area and their support of international soccer," said 49ers President Al Guido. "In partnership with the Earthquakes, we look forward to Manchester United and Real Madrid kicking off an amazing week of soccer in Santa Clara that will culminate with the finale of the 2017 Gold Cup on July 26."

The 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken will run from July 19 - 30and feature 12 matches played across 11 cities throughout the United States. In total, eight teams from around the globe, including England (Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur), Italy (Juventus, AS Roma), France (Paris Saint-Germain) and Spain (FC Barcelona, Real Madrid) will compete in this year's tournament. Each team will play three contests and the club with the most points at the end of the tournament will be crowned champion. Each win in regulation will result in three points and a tie will go straight to a shootout; the winning team in a shootout will receive two points and the losing team will receive one.

Arguably the most recognizable soccer club in the world, Manchester United is frequently mentioned among the most successful teams in English league soccer and has been home to some of the game's greats including Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law. The club is also incredibly successful off the field, having become the first sports franchise to be valued at over $3 billion, according to Forbes.

The record 20-time league title winners have dominated English soccer for much of the last 25 years. During that time, some of the biggest names in soccer, including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, have pulled on the famous red shirt and run out on Old Trafford's hallowed turf. All of the aforementioned names played under the greatest manager soccer has ever known: Sir Alex Ferguson. He took charge of Manchester United in November 1986, before retiring in May 2013 with a record 13 English soccer league titles. The club is currently managed by José Mourinho, who took over the reins in May of 2016. This year's squad features star veteran strikers Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović, along with young superstar midfielder Paul Pogba. For more information on Manchester United, please visit www.manutd.com.

Founded in 1902, Real Madrid hold the record for most European cup/UEFA Champions League championships in any club's history - a staggering total of 11 titles, its most recent arriving in the 2015-2016 season. In addition, the Royal Whites have won a record 32 La Liga titles, while winning the domestic cup 19 times.

Los Blancos currently field a roster featuring some of the best players in the world including Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Gareth Bale (Wales), Karim Benzema (France) as well as home-grown Spanish talent like Isco and captain Sergio Ramos. Led by former Real Madrid midfielder, French soccer legend and current manager Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid returns to the International Champions Cup for the fifth consecutive year, having won each of the inaugural tournaments to take place in the United States, Australia and China. For more information on Real Madrid, please visit www.realmadrid.com.

For the second consecutive year, Heineken is the presenting sponsor of the 2017 International Champions Cup. In addition to Heineken, the 2017 tournament features a leading line-up of sponsors, including Visit Orlando, Ally, Nike, Chevrolet, AON, Groupon, VividSeats, Gatorade and Xyience. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months. All matches for the International Champions Cup will be carried on ESPN networks including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and streaming network ESPN3, accessible through WatchESPN and the ESPN App.

Fans can follow the ICC on social media at @intchampionscup for exclusive content and announcements, and join the conversation using #2017ICC. Fans can sign up for up news, updates and ticket information at www.internationalchampionscup.com.

Earthquakes media services

Uncharacteristic mistakes in goal cost Quakes in loss to Sporting KC

Uncharacteristic mistakes in goal cost Quakes in loss to Sporting KC

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City picked an own goal in the 89th minute that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

Sporting KC was clinging to a 1-0 lead when Soony Saad, outside the box, attempted a shot that went off the defender and was headed wide. Keeper David Bingham went out to scoop up the spinning ball and it went off his hands and into the goal.

The goal was crucial, as Florian Jungwirth spoiled Tim Melia's shutout in stoppage time. A long ball into traffic came down to Jungwirth at the top of the penalty box and he turned and put a left-footed shot over Melia. Melia then came up with a big save; punching away Jungwirth's deflected shot in the third and final minute of stoppage time.

Benny Feilhaber scored the first goal of the season for Sporting KC (1-0-2) with a bending shot from 25 yards in the 37th minute. San Jose keeper David Bingham remained rooted on his spot as Feilhaber's 30th career goal slipped just under the crossbar.

The goal for San Jose (2-1-0) was the first KC allowed this season.