After waiting for a bit, the 2016 MLS regular season schedule has been released today. As fans begin to make traveling plans, the big news is that FOX will show four MLS games on regular FOX.
NYCFC vs. New York Red Bulls on 5/21 (doubleheader with the FA Cup Final), Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders on 7/17, New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC on 7/24 and Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers on 7/31 will be on regular FOX for the first time ever.
Other things to note is that there will be a two week break from June 2 to 18 for the Copa America Centenario and there will be far fewer games taking place during FIFA international breaks, two things very much wanted by players and fans.
As far as the national TV schedule goes, it’ll be a bit more complicated compared to last year as games on Friday were always shown on UniMas, games on Sunday were always shown on ESPN/ESPN2 or FS1/FS2 and Saturday games were subject to local broadcast. While that will happen for the most part, a few national TV games will be on Saturday.
Also, after a rousing success of Decision Day at the end of the MLS season last year, MLS is bringing that back for the final two weeks of the season. On the next to last week of the season, October 16, all teams will play with the Eastern Conference teams playing at 5 PM ET and the Western Conference teams playing at 7 PM ET. On the final day, October 23, every team will play at 4 PM ET to close out the season.
As far as who you’ll be seeing on national TV the most, the Los Angeles Galaxy will be on national TV the most, a total of 18 games. Despite no games on FOX, the Galaxy will be seen seven times on ESPN as well as FS1 with four games on UniMas. Others seeing double digit games on national TV include NYCFC (17), New York Red Bulls (17), Sporting KC (16), Orlando City (15), Portland Timbers (15), Seattle Sounders (15), D.C. United (10) and San Jose Earthquakes (10). On the other end of the spectrum, FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids bring up the rear with only two games on national TV. Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union and Vancouver Whitecaps have three games while Columbus Crew and Toronto FC have four games. It’s important to note that this is only for games on national TV in the United States, explaining why the Canadian teams have so few appearances. They have way more appearances in Canada.
Looks like we’re in the midst of a pretty great 21st MLS season. Next Thursday is the MLS SuperDraft, next month is the MLS preseason including the Desert Diamond Cup and by the time you know it, the season will start again in March. We will be there to cover MLS in a way that we haven’t done before so we are certainly looking forward to what happens.