- The Washington Times
Monday, April 12, 2021

D.C. United announced a new television partnership with NBC Sports Washington and TeleXitos, Telemundo’s multicast network, to broadcast matches in English and Spanish, respectively, during the 2021 and 2022 MLS seasons.

The deal puts the soccer team back onto a more traditional sports television viewing platform after a rocky path of late. In 2019, D.C. United signed a four-year deal with FloSports, an online subscription streaming service. But the product was rife with technical issues, leading to United to cut the agreement short.

In 2020, the team returned to Sinclair, with WJLA (Channel 7) and WJLA 24/7 News (formerly NewsChannel 8) carrying any games not airing nationally on ESPN, Fox Sports 1 or Univision. WJLA also carried United games from 2016 to 2018.

Prior to teaming with Sinclair, most of D.C. United’s first two decades as a club were aired on Comcast SportsNet — the predecessor of NBC Sports Washington.

The new deal with NBC Sports Washington and TeleXitos for 2021 and 2022 will include up to 33 D.C. games on each channel this season. The club will also continue to stream its matches this campaign for free on the team’s official website for fans within a geofenced area surrounding Audi Field, according to a release.

When there are scheduling conflicts on NBC Sports Washington with the Capitals and Wizards, D.C. United will air on NBC Sports Washington Plus. That will be where fans can find D.C. United’s season opener on Saturday, when the team begins the campaign against New York City FC at 8 p.m. at Audi Field.

“As we embark on this new, exciting chapter for the club, we felt it was important to provide more access to view our matches. We understand the importance of our broadcast and what it means to our growing sport and our diverse fanbase here in the District,” Danita Johnson, D.C. United President of Business Operations, said in a statement. “Partnering with NBC Sports Washington and TeleXitos provides us the opportunity to grow our club’s and Major League Soccer’s footprint in both English and Spanish-speaking populations.”

Dave Johnson will continue as the English-speaking commentator for D.C. United games on NBC Sports Washington and DCUnited.com. For the Spanish-language coverage, Telemundo 44’s Moises Linares will handle play-by-play announcing.

“We are committing to delivering compelling live content to sports fans throughout the region, so we are pleased to form partnerships that will bring D.C. United matches to both NBC Sports Washington and TeleXitos to serve their English- and Spanish-language fans throughout the region,” Jackie Bradford, president and general manager of NBC4 (WRC-TV), Telemundo 44 (WZDC) and NBC Sports Washington, said in a statement. “We are excited to be part of the passionate D.C. United community and look forward to a great season.”

D.C. United enters this season with a new head coach, Hernan Losada, who replaces Ben Olsen. As a player and a coach, Olsen spent 22 seasons with the club. Losada joined this offseason from Beerschot, a side in Belgium’s top division.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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