Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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Minnesota United took a big step forward on Thursday on the media front, announcing that all of the team's 2014 home games would be televised live on KSTC Channel 45.
United's final two home games of 2013 were also broadcast - the first on Fox Sports Net, the second on 45 - but before that, you have to go back to 2000 or 2001 to find a Minnesota pro soccer broadcast on wide-availability cable. The team has had games broadcast online for several years, and on Blaine public access TV before that, but has never before had any sort of deal that approaches this.
"Broadcasting all of our home games in primetime will help us reach a huge mainstream audience and is a major stamp of legitimacy for our team," said team president Nick Rogers, in a press release. "We originally expected to be on TV in a few years, but it is a signal of our success that we have reached this milestone so quickly. With sports fans of all stripes tuning in to World Cup soccer on TV this summer, this partnership couldn't come at a better time."
Earlier this year, the NASL announced that it would charge fans for access to online broadcasts, ending several years that the games were freely available online. United's deal with KSTC means that their games - at home, at least - will still be available for fans that might not be able to make it to Blaine.
United also announced that all of the matches would be televised at 7pm, the start time that has traditionally shown the best attendance. It's a victory for a club that needs to attract fans to the stadium as well as to the broadcast, in that the team does not have to change start times to accomodate TV.
Play-by-play announcer Chris Lidholm confirmed, via Twitter, that he will return to call United's games in 2014.
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