REPORT: VERSUS, MLS in “early discussions” About Contract

From Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable:

Major League Soccer could be eyeing a move to Versus, as the two sides have begun very early discussions, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting.  Representatives from both sides have met once (though neither MLS Commissioner Don Garber nor Versus chief Jamie Davis were a part of the meeting), with another meeting tentatively planned to take place in the coming weeks.

MLS currently has deals on English-language television with ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel.  The Fox deal is up at the end of the season (later this calendar year), and that is the arrangement that MLS could look to move to Versus as a possible outcome.  MLS also has a deal for Spanish-language broadcasts with Univision.

While the talks are completely in their infancy and no deal is remotely on the table or has been discussed, MLS executives are said to be impressed with the way Versus has treated its coverage of the National Hockey League, which is a banner property for the cable sports network.  Versus often talks of its ability to “super-serve” fans of the sport, and has seen a solid uptick in numbers since its deal to return to DirecTV and into this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Initial VERSUS 2010 College Football Schedule

September 2nd, 8:30 PM – Pittsburgh vs. Utah
September 4th, 8:00 PM – Wisconsin vs. UNLV
September 11th, 4:00 PM – BYU vs. Air Force
September 18th, 4:30 PM – Baylor vs. TCU
October 2nd, 2:30 PM – Navy vs. Air Force
October 16th, 4:00 PM – BYU vs. TCU
November 13th, 4:00 PM – San Diego State vs. TCU
November 27th, 4:00 PM – TCU vs. New Mexico

VERSUS will also air seven games from the Pac-10, and five games from the Big 12 and Ivy League.  I still don’t understand why VERSUS doesn’t try to expand their Mountain West coverage, where Comcast owns the TV package.