We now know Los Angeles Football Club’s first-ever MLS regular season schedule, for 2018. How can you watch the team?
Aside from attending games, of course, you’ll have options on TV and via streaming. We go over the details here.
National TV broadcasts
One sign that LAFC are expected to be interesting to watch, despite being an expansion team, is that they are on national television a lot in 2018. Like about half of their games.
On cable, LAFC will get a lot of run, too. Three games will be on FS1 (Apr. 29 vs. Seattle Sounders; May 13 vs. New York City FC; Aug. 5 at New York Red Bulls), and five games will be on ESPN (Mar. 4 at Seattle; Apr. 7 at Atlanta United; July 15 vs. Portland; July 26 vs. Galaxy; Aug. 24 at Galaxy) with one on ESPN2 (May 28 vs. D.C. United).
Don’t forget about the Spanish side, too. Four LAFC games will be on Univision Deportes (Mar. 10 at Real Salt Lake; May 5 vs. FC Dallas; Sept. 22 vs. San Jose Earthquakes; Sept. 29 at Chicago Fire). For those who want an English-language call, Univision had both a SAP call on television in English and an English-language stream on Facebook. It’s unclear if that will continue this year, but it seems pretty likely.
So that makes 16 LAFC games on national television in the United States in 2018. What about the other 18 games?
If you live in the Los Angeles media market, the other games will be aired on local television, but the TV partner and details have not yet been announced. To be honest, that news could come any time between now and Apr. 13, the first LAFC game that is not listed to be on national television in the U.S. I would expect it before the start of the season, but using past examples of MLS teams, the news could drop between now and April.
Most likely, the local TV deal will be with a local sports network, more likely a cable channel rather than a fully over-the-air network.
While Spectrum Sportsnet is effectively the Galaxy’s channel, it is possible LAFC could swing a deal with Spectrum, considering LAFC have owners who also own and/or help run the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Dodgers, which both have deals with Spectrum. A deal with Fox’s local sports networks is also possible, considering the rise of Spectrum’s sports networks means they have lost a lot of live sports to air in recent years.
It’s also possible LAFC could opt for a stream-first local deal. If that’s the case, the possibilities are nearly endless, considering streaming of sports is still in its infancy.
Outside the local market
If you live outside the Los Angeles media market and outside the blackout zone, which is determined on a team-by-team basis based on the local TV deal, you can access non-national broadcasts of LAFC games through MLS Live. It’s the equivalent of the NBA League Pass or MLB.tv, providing a league pass for MLS games around the league. Just remember, MLS Live will not stream games live for national TV games or for teams inside a local blackout zone, but they’ll get the rest, and they offer archived games on demand for the entire season (even for those national/blackout games) as well as short 20-minute condensed games for every single match in the MLS season.
MLS Live isn’t for sale yet, but details for that will emerge soon. If you don’t live in LA, or if you are going to watch a decent amount of MLS games that aren’t on national TV, you should definitely consider buying it. It’s a good value, and assuming you understand the blackouts coming into it, the on-demand and condensed game features are nearly worth it alone.
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