November 7, 2011

MLL Agrees to TV Deal with CBS Sports Network

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

MLL commissioner David Gross said the league's new 14-game TV deal with CBS Sports Network runs concurrently with the MLL's agreement with ESPN.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

Major League Lacrosse has added a television partner. The now eight-team league announced Monday that it has reached a television agreement with CBS Sports Network to air 14 nationally televised games in 2012, each shown live on CBS Sports Network.

MLL commissioner David Gross said in a telephone interview with Lacrosse Magazine on Monday that the deal is for one year and that MLL's TV deal with ESPN, which runs through 2016, remains in place.

"ESPN has been a great partner since 2003," Gross said. "This is just adding another strong partner."

In a statement released by the MLL, Gross said: "We are extremely excited to add CBS Sports Network as a television partner. Having 14 live nationally telecast games on the network is a tremendous step forward for the growth of MLL and for lacrosse in general.

"Our hope is that through this agreement with CBS Sports Network, MLL will expose sports fans to not only the fastest growing sport in the country, but the fastest sport on two-feet. Additionally, our loyal fans have been campaigning for more nationally televised games and we're happy to announce that our partnership with CBS Sports Network will bring the total number of live, nationally televised games to 20 in 2012."

"We are thrilled to partner with the MLL, adding to our already robust lineup of lacrosse programming," said Ross Molloy, vice president of CBS Sports Network. "Lacrosse has long been a staple on our Network and we look forward to showcasing the world's best lacrosse players while further increasing the national visibility of the sport."

In addition to the 14 games, CBSSN will also air all 18 episodes of "Inside the MLL," the league's 30-minute magazine show. The show, produced by the league, provides fans with an inside look at MLL's teams, players and coaches. Each week the show will feature special guests and provide analysis prior to each game. It will also include behind-the-scenes video.

Gross said the league will hold a contest via social media to selected the host of the show.

CBS Sports Network is seen in 44 million homes and is available to 98 million households across the country. The Network is available through local cable and video providers and nationally via satellite on DirecTV Channel 613 and DISH Network Channel 152. CBS Sports Network is also available in Canada on the following cable providers: Bell ExpressVU, Eastlink, Cogeco Cable, Rogers Cable and Bell Aliant.

Gross said conversations with CBS only began at the end of the summer and the deal came together relatively quickly.

"More and more media outlets are getting into lacrosse," Gross said. "We thought it was a really good fit."

Announcers for the package of games should be selected by January. Gross indicated that the announcers could come from CBS and/or from talent that the league has worked with before.

Additionally, Gross said this year's collegiate draft -- held Jan. 13 at the US Lacrosse National Convention in Philadelphia -- will be broadcast on majorleaguelacrosse.com.


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