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Galaxy, Chivas Gain TV Deal

Times Staff Writer

At least 40 Galaxy and Chivas USA matches, including Major League Soccer games and international friendlies, will be televised locally on the Fox Sports Network next season as part of a groundbreaking broadcast move by the Galaxy and its parent company, the Anschutz Entertainment Group.

“It’s probably the largest, most important regional sports deal done for any team in MLS,” Tim Leiweke, AEG’s president, said Wednesday. “It’s going to capture a lot of attention.

“Chivas USA will be part of that relationship. We’re switching our games over there [to FSN West and FSN West 2] next year and it is a major step forward for MLS. It’s a very good rights fee deal, it’s an important package because we get good timing, and most importantly, Fox believes in us.

“They’re excited. They have some unique visions on what they’re going to do with these two soccer teams as far as their programming. Suddenly we’re in a position where we have a major sports carrier that sees soccer and believes it’s as important as baseball, hockey or basketball.”

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Being able to offer both the Galaxy and Chivas USA, which begins play in MLS next season, was key to the multi-year agreement, currently being finalized.

Chivas USA, owned by Mexican businessman Jorge Vergara, yielded its sponsorship sales and broadcast rights to the Galaxy as part of the agreement that allows Chivas USA to play in Los Angeles and to share the Home Depot Center with the Galaxy.

“When we started asking what we were asking for, they [Fox] looked at us like we were crazy,” Leiweke said. “They don’t believe we’re crazy anymore. They understand the potential of Chivas USA to the Hispanic marketplace....

“They think Chivas USA is going to break through in a way that they have been unable to break through with other teams.”

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Steve Simpson, vice president and general manager for FSN West, said Wednesday that by gaining Chivas USA along with the Galaxy, the network was “adding one of the most popular soccer brands in all of North America” to its programming.

The agreement is a “hybrid” deal that includes both a rights fee and a revenue sharing arrangement under which Fox and AEG both will sell commercial time.

Doug Hamilton, the Galaxy’s president and general manager, Wednesday night called the pending agreement “the widest-ranging and most comprehensive of any MLS TV broadcast relationship [and] the first that has a significant rights fee.”

Times staff writer Larry Stewart contributed to this report.

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