On the heels of the most successful season for the MLS on TSN, a new multi-year broadcasting rights extension was reached. TSN will continue to broadcast all Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC games along with a select number of Montreal Impact games and marquee US match-ups.
Along with the regular season slate, TSN will continue to have the rights to the MLS playoffs, MLS cup, the MLS all star game and MLS decision day.
TSN is coming off their highest ratings for MLS coverage with the Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact eastern semifinal garnering 1 million viewers in the first leg and 1.4 million in the second leg. The final set a MLS on TSN record, 1.5 million viewers who witnessed the Seattle Sounders defeat Toronto FC in penalty kicks in the MLS cup.
While the recently high ratings are the result of the success of the Canadian MLS teams last season, MLS soccer as a whole, is one of the fastest growing games in North America in terms of popularity. With high attendance numbers (partly due to low ticket prices compared to the big 4 leagues) and a committed fan base the MLS is quickly establishing a foothold in the highly competitive North American sports market.
The leagues growth spurned a cumulative 90 million dollars in television contracts from ESPN, FOX and Univision. Expansion is also on the horizon with Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC joining the league in March and Los Angeles FC set for 2018. The future holds a team in Miami as well, with a list of potential expansion candidates on the waiting list.
As the MLS slowly enters the mainstream in the vast North American sporting landscape networks are expanding coverage and devoting more resources towards the MLS. While Canadian soccer fans are surely hoping for the continued success of TFC and the Impact, and a Whitecaps bounce back season, everyone should be happy for more North American footy in Canada.