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LAFC announce new English-language local broadcast partners

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Goodbye YouTube TV, hello Bally Sports SoCal and My13 KCOP.

MLS: LAFC Culinary Tour Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LAFC announced on Thursday they have two new English-language local broadcast partners for the 2021 season, starting with Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rapids.

The club will broadcast non-nationally televised games on either Bally Sports SoCal (what was called Fox Sports Prime Ticket until a recent rebrand, basically the same channel that Los Angeles Clippers games are aired on) or My13 KCOP. Saturday’s game will be aired on My13.

How can you access these channels? Bally Sports SoCal is on most Los Angeles-area cable packages, but crucially not on the streaming service YouTube TV, where the team’s English-language local broadcasts were exclusively carried the last three years. My13 appears to be on YTTV, but it is also widely available on cable and I believe it is a channel that is also available over the air in the Los Angeles region. Listings provided by the club are here.

Spanish-language local broadcasts will continue to air on Estrella TV KRCA-62 for the 2021 season.

“This is a significant and exciting step forward for our Club,” LAFC Co-President and CBO Larry Freedman said in a team statement. “With the comprehensive coverage that Bally Sports SoCal and My13 KCOP provide throughout Southern California and beyond, the local broadcast of our matches will now be more accessible than ever before for our fans and supporters. We are thrilled to welcome Bally Sports SoCal and My13 KCOP to the Black & Gold family.”

LAFC were the first MLS team to make their local broadcasts available on a paid streaming service, but YouTube TV was controversial because it cost the same as a cable subscription and while LAFC had a dedicated channel in the LA area, the non-game programming on the channel was intermittent at best and the channel was usually off the air anyway.

In a region in which many LAFC fans are Lakers or Dodgers fans, for example, it would be impossible to have only one streaming or cable service to watch all of these teams’ local broadcasts in English, although fortunately the club has always had the Spanish-language broadcast available on all cable systems to keep us from resorting to pirated streams to watch the black-and-gold.

Still, while the club having two English-language broadcast partners isn’t ideal for simplicity, these channels are accessible to many and in order to keep growing the fanbase you have to actually make the games available for casuals to watch on TV to try and get them hooked.

Max Bretos will remain LAFC’s play-by-play announcer in English on local broadcasts and he will continue to bring in a rotating cast of color commentators. There will continue to be pregame and postgame shows in English and Spanish on the respective networks around games, and Katia Castorena is joining the broadcast team this year as a sideline reporter.

I expect the production for these games to be virtually the same as they’ve been, but we’ll see how fans take to the changes. Personally, this is far more accessible, but we’ll see what the supporters say.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.