Soccer / Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes' Alan Gordon battles FC Dallas' Zach Loyd in the first half at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, May 10, 2014. The Earthquakes defeated FC Dallas, 2-1. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Breakdown of the MLS' new $90-million deal with television partners

ATLANTA -- MLS announced a new TV deal on Monday with ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision that commissioner Don Garber called one of the most memorable days for soccer in the U.S. The deal, which will begin in 2015 and carry through 2022, is worth an estimated $90 million per year, according to Sports Business Daily.

Garber hinted before the announcement of Atlanta's MLS expansion team in April that the TV revenues were going to expand significantly from the current total of $18 million per year.

"We are bullish on where this sport is going overall and where the domestic team and domestic league in this country is going," ESPN President John Skipper said.

One of the important components of the deal, according to Garber, are dedicated days and times for matches of the week, which he said will improve the league's TV ratings, which have been tepid compared to other pro sports.

Univision, primarly on Unimas, will televise a Friday match of the week at 7 p.m. or 11 p.m. EDT. ESPN will televise a Sunday doubleheader at 5 p.m. (primarily on ESPN2) and Fox Sports will televise another at 7 p.m. (primarily on FOX Sports 1). Univision will follow with a Sunday wrap-up show, creating a block of soccer.

More than 125 matches per season will be televised on the three networks. ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision will each carry a minimum of 34 games.

"This is a comprehensive media package that is beneficial to all parties involved," said Arthur Blank, the owner and chairman of Atlanta's MLS team that will begin play in 2017. "It reflects the increasing popularity of soccer among sports fans and a strong long-term commitment to soccer by our media partners."

U.S. 30-man roster announced

Jurgen Klinsmann didn't include too many surprises among his call-ups to the 30 man provisional roster for this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

But Klinsmann did veer from his philosophy of players needing to play well for their clubs in a couple of situations. Included were defenders Omar Gonzalez, who isn't playing well for the Galaxy, and Tim Chandler, who hasn't expressed much interest in playing for the U.S., and excluded was Tim Ream, the player for the year for Bolton, and Oguchi Onyewu, who played well for Sheffield Wednesday.

Also included were forward Jozy Altidore, one of the biggest flops in the Premier League this year, and midfielder Julian Green, who has played one senior-level match for Bayern Munich this year. Excluded was Juan Agudelo, who is scoring a few goals in Holland.

The 23-man roster must be set by June 2. The 30 players will report to training camp in Palo Alto, Calif. on Thursday.

The question Klinsmann needs to answer is at one point do you move on from the known and give chances to the developing? England's Roy Hodgson has decided that it is time to give his country's up-and-comers a chance.

This will likely be the last major competition for Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and perhaps Clint Dempsey. Will Klinsmann slot them into the starting lineup in Brazil? Few would argue with Howard and Dempsey, who are in form. Donovan and Klinsmann have always had a curious relationship. Klinsmann has had pointed words for the Galaxy player in the past and hasn't always automatically slotted him into the starting 11. Plus, he is scoreless and has just one assist in seven games for the Galaxy this year. Those are the same stats as Eddie Johnson, who was left off the roster.

The big question will be up top. Will Klinsmann give someone like Aron Johannsson, who scored 17 goals in Holland, a legitimate chance to supplant Altidore, who scored one goal in the Premier League this year?

National squads

In some other interesting bits of national team news:

Luiz Felipe Scolari named his 23-man squad for Brazil and three exclusions raised eyebrows: A.C. Milan midfielder Kaka along with Liverpool midfielders Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho. It may simply be a case of Scolari not being able to pick every talented midfielder possible. But to exclude Coutinho, who has been in firm form Liverpool, and to include Oscar, who has barely played for Chelsea in the past few weeks, is curious.

Miguel Herrera's 23-man Mexico squad featured several notables: Giovani dos Santos, Guillermo Ochoa and Andres Guardado.

Germany's 30-man squad includes the Methuselah of international soccer: Miroslav Klose. The 35-year-old forward is attempting to play in his fourth World Cup. He needs two more goals to become the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history, passing Brazil's Ronaldo who has 15.

England's 23-man squad doesn't include Ashley Cole, a longtime stalwart who at one point was one of the best left backs in the world. Also left out are Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverly, two players who frankly don't seem to do any one thing particularly well. It is filled with young stars with pace, including Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana.

Champs

Manchester City were crowned the kings of England's Premier League with a 2-0 win over West Ham on Sunday. Liverpool finished second, Chelsea third and Arsenal fourth, wrapping up the spots in next year's Champions League. Everton and Tottenham secured the Europa League spots by finishing fifth and sixth. Hull, a finalist in the FA Cup, will join them. Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City were relegated to the Championship.

The race in Spain will come down to Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona in this week's league finale. Atletico leads Barcelona three three points and need only to tie at the Nou Camp to secure the title.

Silverbacks fall

The Silverbacks continued to struggle away from Atlanta, falling 4-0 to Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday. They have been outscored 9-3 away from Silverbacks Park this year.

Atlanta (2-0-3) must shore up its defense because its next two games are on the road at Carolina on Saturday and at FC Edmonton on May 24. Carolina is in fourth with seven points while Edmonton is struggling this year with four points

MLS

Five teams are within three points of each other atop the Eastern Conference following last week's action.

D.C. United continued its turnaround with a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia. Leaders Sporting KC swept aside Jack McInerney's Montreal side 3-0 to reach 17 points and New England kept pace with a 5-0 thumping of Seattle. Chicago kept New York from reaching the top after a 5-4 win.

Real Salt Lake cut the Sounders' lead to two points in the West with a 5-2 win over Houston.

(c)2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) at www.ajc.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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