The MLS will receive some primetime coverage later this year, as the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoff television schedule puts the league in the spotlight.
On Saturday, December 10, the MLS Cup will air on FOX, UniMás, TSN and RDS. This is the first time in league history that the championship will be given Saturday night, primetime coverage, as the game is set to be played at 8:00 pm. EST.
It also marks the first time FOX will televise the championship match, and the first time since 2008 that the MLS Cup will air live on English-language network TV.
Postseason action kicks off on October 26, 27 following the close of regular-season play on Sunday, Oct. 23. Postseason matches will air live in more than 175 countries worldwide.
Once again, all games in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs will be broadcast nationally across the league’s domestic partners FS1, ESPN and UniMás, with select matches on the TSN and RDS family of networks in Canada. Canadian broadcast information for the playoffs will be announced at a later date.
Following the same playoff competition format implemented last season, the top six teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences will qualify for the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. The playoffs kick off with two Knockout Round games on Oct. 26 and 27, during which the third and sixth seeds, and fourth and fifth seeds from each conference, will face off in a single-game elimination match.
Just as in 2015, the Knockout Round matches will be aired on UniMás, however, this season, ESPN and FS1 will each broadcast one Knockout Round game as well.
Knockout Round winners advance to the Conference Semifinals, a two-game, home-and-home series held across the next two consecutive weekends and decided by aggregate-goal format. Each conference’s top seed will face their respective conference’s lowest-seeded Knockout Round winner. Each conference’s No. 2 seed will face their respective conference’s highest-seeded Knockout Round winner. The higher-seeded team will host the second leg of the two-game series. Four teams, two from each conference, will advance to the Conference Championships.
After a break in play to observe the international FIFA window from Nov. 7-15, playoff action will resume with the two-game, aggregate-goal format Conference Championship series to be played between Sunday, Nov. 20 and Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The two conference champions advance to 2016 MLS Cup, which will be played at the home venue of the finalist with the best regular-season record, as it has been since the 2012 season.
For more information about the postseason format, please see the MLS Competition Rules and Regulations.
Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Schedule*
Knockout Round October 26-27: Eastern and Western Conference Knockout Round games
- Two games Wednesday Night (times TBD). Match 1: ESPN2 & UniMás; Match 2: UniMás
- Two games Thursday Night (times TBD). Match: FS1 & UniMás; Match 2: UniMás
Conference Semifinals Two-game series, aggregate-goal format between conference top seed vs. lowest advancing seed from Knockout Round and conference second seed vs. highest seed from Knockout Round.
- Sunday, Oct. 30: Eastern and Western Conference Leg 1
- 3 pm ET (ESPN)
- 5 pm ET (ESPN)
- 7 pm ET (FS1)
- 9:30 pm ET (FS1)
- Sunday, Nov. 6: Eastern and Western Conference Leg 2
- 3 pm ET (ESPN)
- 5 pm ET (ESPN)
- 7:30 pm ET (FS1)
- 10 pm ET (FS1)
- Sunday, Nov. 20: Western Conference Championship Leg 1 (FS1, 8 pm ET)
- Tuesday, Nov. 22: Eastern Conference Championship Leg 1 (ESPN, 8 pm ET)
- Sunday, Nov. 27: Western Conference Championship Leg 2 (ESPN, 4 pm ET)
- Wednesday, Nov. 30: Eastern Conference Championship Leg 2 (FS1, 7 pm ET)
2016 MLS Cup
- Saturday, Dec. 10: 2016 MLS Cup (FOX, UniMás, TSN, RDS, 8 p.m. ET)
*Dates/times are subject to change.
Photo of 2013 MLS All-Star Game by Brett Flanders via flickr.com.