Major League Soccer Gets Kick From TV Deal

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major League Soccer received a big boost last week as it announced an eight-year television deal that triples the annual price it is now getting for national broadcasting rights for its games.

The new TV deal for MLS comes from Disney's (DIS)DIS ESPN, Twenty-First Century Fox's (FOXA)FOXA Fox and Univision.

After earning around $30 million annually on its current deal, MLS will now get $90 million in annual revenue from its television deal, which runs through 2022. In the new deal, Fox is replacing NBC, a unit of Comcast (CMCSA)CMCSA. Univision is 38% owned by Mexico-based Grupo Televisa (TV)TV, whose American depositary receipts trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

During the last 10 years, MLS has grown from 10 teams to 19. Expansion in Atlanta, New York and Orlando will add to the league total, and has been possible by the league's growing popularity, as shown by a 35% increase in attendance since 2000.

Two publicly traded companies that should benefit from the new TV deal are Canada's Rogers Communications (RCI)RCI and Bell Canada (TSE: BCE)TSE: BCE, whose shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Rogers trades on the NYSE.)

Each company has a 37.5% stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., which owns Toronto FC, one of the most followed MLS teams. Toronto FC's attendance has increased 25% through its first three home games this season to an average of 22,591 fans per game.

>>Read More: Canadian Companies Benefit From Major League Soccer Signings

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