Fox lands MLS and Copa Libertadores rights in the Netherlands
Fox Sports, the pay-television broadcaster in the Netherlands, has acquired exclusive rights to North America's Major League Soccer in a four-year deal, and picked up rights to the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, South America’s top clubs competitions, for the next two years.
The MLS agreement with the IMG agency has been signed in time for this weekend's season-opener between Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC at 7pm (CET) on 2 March on Fox Sports 6.
At midnight CET on 4 March, former Dutch international Frank de Boer (pictured) will take charge of his first match as manager of reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United when they take on DC United, with that game to air on Fox Sports 4.
In total, Fox Sports will show four live games this weekend, with a highlights show on Monday night.
Rob Labree, Fox Sports director of programming and production, said: "Frank de Boer is with the reigning champion Atlanta United, manager of a club with 50,000 fans in the stands, Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays as true Hollywood star for LA Galaxy and in 2020 David Beckham's Inter Miami CF enter MLS. In short, something is happening in North America and we are delighted that we will be following it on Fox Sports for the next four years."
The two-year South American competitions deal was struck with FC Diez Media, the joint venture between IMG and DAZN responsible for distributing the rights on behalf of Conmebol. Fox Sports' coverage will begin on 5 March.
From 2015 to 2018 MLS rights in the Netherlands were held by Eurosport, the Discovery-owned broadcaster, in a deal that covered all of its European territories apart from the UK where pay-TV's Sky held the rights (and continues to do so).
However, it emerged in the third quarter of last year that Eurosport would not renew its contract, leading IMG to deal with broadcasters on a market-by-market basis.
IMG is mid-way through an eight-year agreement to distribute international media rights to MLS.