MLS is Back Tournament Schedule & Broadcast Details Announced

NEW YORK/SANDY, UTAH (June 24, 2020) – Major League Soccer today announced the schedule and broadcast details for all 54 matches of the MLS is Back Tournament. The 54 matches of the MLS is Back Tournament will be televised nationally in the U.S. across ESPN, FOX Sports, and the Univision family of networks; in Canada on TSN and TVA Sports networks, as well as globally through the league’s international broadcast partners.
Real Salt Lake will see its Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry respawn to open the tournament on Sunday, July 12 at 8:30p MT (ESPN/ESPN Deportes and TSN). Following its opening match, RSL will face Minnesota United on Friday, July 17 at 8:30p MT (ESPN/ESPN Deportes and TSN). RSL will then close the group stage on July 22 against Sporting Kansas City at 7:00a MT (ESPN/ESPN Deportes and TSN).

RSL has longstanding rivalries with Kansas City and Colorado and is unbeaten at 3-0-1 over the last two seasons against both clubs.  Real Salt Lake has taken home the Rocky Mountain Cup in 11 of the last 13 seasons against Colorado, posting a 19-8-10 record during that stretch.  In six all-time meetings with Minnesota, RSL is 1-3-2 with the lone victory coming at Rio Tinto Stadium in 2017.

Real Salt Lake finished third in the Western Conference in 2019 at 16-13-5 (53 points), advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals for the second consecutive season.  RSL started the 2020 season with two draws, first on the road against Orlando City SC, then at Rio Tinto Stadium against the New York Red Bulls.

The Group Stage presented by Heineken will consist of 16 consecutive days of games with each MLS club playing three matches against teams within their drawn groups. All group stage match results will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings, as well as toward qualification to the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage presented by Audi. 
The tournament will continue in the Knockout Stage presented by Audi with eight Round-of-16 matches, played as doubleheaders on four consecutive evenings (July 25-28), followed by four quarterfinal matches (July 30-Aug 1), two semifinal games (Aug. 5-6) and the MLS is Back Tournament Final on August 11 at 6 p.m. MT (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN). The tournament champion will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.  
In addition to the schedule announcement, MLS today confirmed a change to the tournament’s competition structure.  The top three teams from Group A, the six-team group, will advance to the Knockout Stage presented by Audi. Those three teams will be joined by the top two teams from the remaining five groups, as well as the next three highest ranked teams from the Group Stage presented by Heineken (the fourth-placed team in Group A is eligible to advance) based on points, goal difference, goals for, fair play points.
  • CLICK HERE for the complete MLS is Back Tournament Broadcast Schedule.
ESPN will oversee game production services for MLS broadcast partners throughout the tournament, delivering produced feeds of all matches to FOX Sports, Univision, TSN, TVA Sports and the league’s international broadcast networks.  Each broadcast partner will use their own on-air talent to call the games and produce their own graphics packages for use during telecasts.  The MLS is Back Tournament on television will feature unique and experimental technology to enhance the production. More details on the production enhancements will be announced prior to the start of the tournament.
A partner since the league’s inaugural season, ESPN networks will televise a combined 28 matches, bring fans in the U.S. both English- and Spanish-language coverage of Major League Soccer’s return to play - from the first meeting of the two Florida clubs to kick off the tournament on July 8, all the way through the MLS is Back Tournament Final on Aug. 11 (8 p.m. ET). All ESPN matches will also be streamed live on the ESPN App.
  • CLICK HERE for the MLS is Back Tournament Competition Guidelines. 
As part of the preparations for the tournament, MLS clubs begin arriving today at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. The resort sits just 3.5 miles from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where all 26 MLS teams will train for and compete in the MLS is Back Tournament.  CLICK HERE for more information about photo and video assets as well as media access to players and coaches.
MLS is Back Tournament Schedule Quick Facts
16 Consecutive Match Dates: The Group Stage presented by Heineken will consist of 16 days of consecutive match dates followed by the Knockout Stage presented by Audi. 
Rest & Recovery: All clubs will have at least four full days between matches. 
Soccer Mornings: Seven matches will take place at 9 a.m. ET, all of which will air on ESPN and ESPN Deportes in the U.S. and on TSN in Canada. Clubs will participate in no more than one morning match during the tournament. The first morning match is July 9 when New York City FC take on Philadelphia Union.
FOX Broadcast Network to Showcase Atlanta United vs. Red Bulls: On July 11, Atlanta United will return to action against the New York Red Bulls live on the FOX Broadcast Network, TUDN, and TSN.  The match will be followed by the Hell is Real rivalry match at 10:30 p.m. ET on FS1, TUDN and TSN. 
Reigning MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC Return to Action: The reigning MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC return to action looking to defend their title on July 10 against MLS’ all-time leading goalscorer, Chris Wondolowski, and the San Jose Earthquakes (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN, 10:30 p.m. ET)
El Trafico in Orlando: The El Trafico rivalry match between Los Angeles Football Club and the LA Galaxy will take place on July 18 (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN, 10:30 p.m. ET) as each club’s second match in the Group Stage presented by Heineken.
Hell is Real Rivalry Match on July 11: FC Cincinnati will face Columbus Crew SC on July 11 at 10:30 p.m. ET live on FS1, TUDN and TSN.
Canadian Rivals Face-off on July 15:  Montreal Impact head coach Thierry Henry will get his first taste of the heated Canadian rivalry versus Toronto FC on July 15 (8 p.m. ET), live on TSN and TVA Sports in Canada and TUDN in the U.S.
Group Stage presented by Heineken Grand Finale: Group play closes out on July 23 as the Houston Dynamo take on Chicharito and the LA Galaxy on FS1, TUDN and TSN (8 p.m. ET) followed by LAFC facing the Portland Timbers on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes in the U.S., TSN in Canada (10:30 p.m. ET).
TSN to Air Them All: TSN will be airing all 54 games of the MLS is Back Tournament in Canada. 
MLS Media Resources:  For more information about how to cover the MLS is Back Tournament, please visit the MLS Media Resources site