MLS opened the books to season 20, announcing its 2015 schedule which marks the first of an eight-year television and media rights partnership with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision. The new season will offer a record amount of nationally televised games, two more weekends of “high-profile rivalry games” and – for the first time in league history – a final day of the regular season that will see key games played simultaneously to decide which teams live to play another day in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In addition, the league also announced that the playoff field will expand to 12 teams in 2015, as the sixth-place teams in both the Eastern and Western Conferences will qualify for the postseason. The Knockout Rounds will now consist of four single-elimination matches on the road to MLS Cup in early December.
The Univision game of the week will run on Friday nights while an ESPN and FOX Sports double-header is slated for nearly every Sunday all season at 5p and 7p. Both ESPN and FOX Sports will simulcast their games on their Spanish-language networks (ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes) and their authenticated digital offerings (Watch ESPN, FOX Sports GO). On Sunday, March 8, fans will see six-and-a-half hour block of nationally televised soccer, starting with expansion clubs Orlando City SC and New York City FC on ESPN2 at 5p.