Real Salt Lake gets a new TV deal

Everyone is happy about the new Real Salt Lake TV deal. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

For professional sports teams, the national and local TV deals are valuable revenue streams as well as a way to establish and improve their presence in a local market. While LA was able to leverage their hot local sports property battle and huge name DP's into a multi-million dollar deal, in Salt Lake City the news isn't about the money but it is about establishing a local presence.

In the past most RSL matches that weren't covered by national TV outlets were covered by KMYU 2.2 a sublet of the local CBS network. MLS moved to a new network for the 2012 season that will offer more coverage available to more people and RSL also has a big move to new networks.

First up is the fact that all 30 RSL matches that aren't nationally broadcast will be on local TV, plus each of them will be available in HD. This alone is huge for me, as the matches are much better to watch in HD but we get 10 matches on ABC-4 and 20 matches on CW-30. To me this is incredible news as both channels are available locally over the air and on all cable and satellite providers.

Second up is RSL isn't going to be paying for air time, and while the networks aren't providing any money for the right to broadcast the games, RSL will be in charge of 7/8ths of the advertising.

The third thing that I love is that Bill Riley and Brian Dunseth will both be on the broadcast team, for me having people who are vested in RSL as much as the fans covering the matches is great, these guys know the players, they know the fans and they love the team and organization as much as anyone else out there.

Finally, each match will have either a 30 minute pre or post match show. I love that option as it will help new fans learn more about the team, the players and hopefully help create more new RSL fans. Oh and a bonus as I found out that all 4 of the RSL matches at the Tuscon Cup will be streamed live online. Another bonus, here is a copy of the 2012 RSL schedule with all the TV info.

After the jump you can check out the official press release:

ABC4, CW30 COMBINE TO BROADCAST 30 RSL MATCHES LIVE IN HD

Utah's ABC / CW Affiliates Air Contests LIVE on Free, Over-the-Air TV in HD via either ABC4 or CW30;

New Partnership Debuts with 2012 Season Opener on March 10 at MLS Cup Holders Los Angeles Galaxy

SANDY, UTAH (Tuesday, January 24, 2012) - Real Salt Lake and KTVX, Utah's ABC affiliate, today announced a new, multi-year broadcast partnership that will see KTVX ABC4 air 10 live RSL contests during the 2012 Major League Soccer campaign, while the KTVX-operated KUCW - known as CW30 - will carry the remaining 20 non-national regional broadcasts. The RSL-KTVX partnership guarantees that all 34 of the Utah side's regular-season affairs will be aired on a local or national broadcast partner, on either free, over-the-air television or via the new national NBC Sports Network (formerly known as Versus).

Real Salt Lake's KTVX slate kicks off with the team's 2012 MLS opener on Saturday, March 10, when the Claret-and-Cobalt will travel to The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles for a rematch of both MLS Cup 2009 and the 2011 MLS Western Conference Final against reigning MLS Cup champion Galaxy, featuring international soccer icons Landon Donovan and David Beckham. Pre-game coverage starts at 8:00 p.m. MT.

"ABC4 and its sister operation CW30 provide the perfect fit for Real Salt Lake and Rio Tinto Stadium as we move into another new era in our organization's growth," said RSL President Bill Manning, noting that the team's regional games remain on free, over-the-air television, as they have since its inception in 2005. "KTVX's commitment to live, local content and their recognition of our relevance as a team on the field and a business entity off of it has everyone - fans, ownership, players and others - excited for this long-term partnership."

For the first time ever, each of Real Salt Lake's 30 regional games will air in High Definition, while ABC4 and CW30 offer channel location consistency, regardless of the platform by which the fragmented Utah DMA consumes its television - over the air, cable or satellite. Virtually all of the elements contained in each two-and-a-half hour Real Salt Lake broadcast will be available locally - including features, game highlights, interviews with key personalities and full-game re-broadcasts - on Comcast Video-on-Demand, as will numerous RSL-related content produced by the ABC4 news and sports team.

"ABC4 and CW30 are excited to partner with RSL and provide the community with 30 live games on broadcast television," said Matt Jaquint, General Manager of ABC4 and CW30 "Sports is the ultimate reality show, and RSL's championship-winning brand of soccer provides an unparalleled level of compelling local content."

Of the 10 regular-season games airing on ABC4, eight will emanate from the road, highlighted by the March 10 opener at LA and continuing with April 14 at Kansas City, May 12 at Seattle, June 16 at Chivas, July 14 at San Jose, August 4 at Colorado and August 11 at Vancouver. KTVX will air a pair of games from Rio Tinto Stadium, including the March 17 home opener featuring RSL against Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls, as well as the team's August 18 home game against FC Dallas.

CW30 will carry a mix of 20 total games, including 14 home and six away, throughout the length of the season, starting on March 24 with the Rio Tinto Stadium match against Chivas and closing with the 2012 regular-season finale on October 27 against Vancouver. The highlight of the CW30 road schedule is RSL's first-ever visit to the new BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Thursday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m. MT.

The RSL on ABC4 / CW30 broadcast team will see long-time RSL ambassadors continue in the booth, as ESPN700 host Bill Riley enters his eighth year as an RSL play-by-play personality on radio and TV, while 10-year MLS veteran and "RSL Original" Brian Dunseth assumes color analyst duties on RSL broadcasts for a seventh consecutive season. Riley and Dunseth can often be heard together Monday through Friday between 2-6p MT talking all things RSL, MLS and international soccer, while ABC4 sports reporter Emerson Lotzia will appear on RSL broadcasts as the third member of the broadcast team. Throughout the season, RSL players, coaches and personalities will be featured on the Saturday and Sunday night "SportsZone" on ABC4, each weekend night at 10:35 p.m. MT.

Folks, I don't know if I can express how glad I am that this deal happened or how much I believe it will mean for both Real Salt Lake and the fans, the deal is now that we need to get everyone who isn't at the matches at Rio Tinto to watch it on TV. If you are at the match, you need to leave your TV tuned to the match at home, for road matches if you go watch with friends or at the Republican leave your TV on the match as well. If we can get the ratings up it will only open more doors for the team.

OFF MY SOAPBOX

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