[TELEVISION WATCH] The promotional opportunities that NBC, the rebranded NBC Sports Network and NBC's affiliates will offer were a huge reason Major League Soccer jumped at the opportunity to take what MLS Commissioner Don Garber termed a "natural step" in leaving Fox Soccer and partner with NBC.
The agreement calls for NBC to air two regular-season and two playoff games and NBC Sports Network to televise 38 regular-season games and three playoff games for each of the three years of the contract.
In addition, NBC and NBC Sports Network will each air two U.S. national team games per year.
“We think Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer are ready for prime time and ready for network television," said Garber.
Garber said MLS was ready to return to English-language network television, from which it has been absent during the regular season since 2002.
Garber and Jon Miller, the president of programming of NBC Sports, go back together to Garber's days with the NFL, and Garber said the deal between MLS and NBC came together quickly.
Despite pro soccer's historically poor ratings, MLS offers NBC attractive demographics and what Miller termed "blue chip" sponsors.
NBC will offer MLS a chance to grow its base.
“We won’t just be promoting Major League Soccer inside soccer games," said Miller. "We’ll be promoting Major League Soccer inside Notre Dame football games, the NHL, Indy Car, PGA Tour golf, obviously the Olympics next summer."