The Columbus Crew today announced its schedule for the 2012 Major League Soccer regular season, which has it opening on the road Saturday, March 10, against the Colorado Rapids. Following a bye week, the Black & Gold will then host the first home match of its 17th season, FirstKick 2012, on Saturday, March 24, when the expansion Montreal Impact visits Crew Stadium for the first time.
The Crew’s home schedule features a total of 13 Saturday games, complemented by two Sunday and two Wednesday matches. It concludes the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 28, when it plays host to Eastern Conference and Trillium Cup rival Toronto FC.
Each of the League’s 19 clubs will play 34 matches, 17 at home and 17 away, over the course of 34 weeks. Within each conference, each club will play the same number of in-conference and out-of-conference games, following the competition format announced on Nov. 20, 2011.
The Crew will play seven of the other nine teams in the Eastern Conference three times each. It will host Kansas City, Montreal and Toronto twice at home and face Chicago, D.C., New England and Philadelphia twice on the road. The lone meeting between the Crew and defending MLS Cup-champion LA Galaxy will be at Crew Stadium on Aug. 15.
Tickets to FirstKick 2012 vs. Montreal are on sale now at the Crew Stadium Box Office, all central Ohio Ticketmaster retail locations, by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at TheCrew.com, with prices starting at $22. Individual tickets to the remaining Crew home games will go on sale in the coming weeks. However 2012 season tickets are currently on sale at a discounted rate through Friday, January 13.
All 323 MLS matches will be televised live – 89 by national U.S. network partners ESPN, NBC, and Univision (on Galavisión) in the United States. Nationally in Canada, 30 games featuring Canadian clubs will air on TSN/TSN2 in English and RDS/RDS2 in French. The TSN/TSN2 and RDS/RDS2 schedules will be finalized and announced in the coming weeks. All non-national TV games will be broadcast locally and/or via subscription to Direct Kick and MLSsoccer.com’s live streaming package.
The ESPN/ESPN2 MLS broadcast package includes the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Cup, and select international matches involving MLS clubs.
The NBC Sports Group begins its three-year partnership with MLS this season with live broadcasts of 41 regular season games and five MLS Cup Playoff games. The first one is Sunday, March 11 when FC Dallas hosts the New York Red Bulls on the new NBC Sports Network.
A total of 38 regular season games will air on NBC Sports Network, including two Crew matches, on April 14 at Philadelphia and August 15 vs. the LA Galaxy. The Crew will announce its regional television plans in the coming weeks.
The 2012 MLS Regular Season will be followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and the championship game – MLS Cup 2012 – on Dec. 1, hosted by one of the two finalists. From First Kick to MLS Cup, the calendar footprint of the 2012 season is 267 days – the longest in League history (as is the regular season, at 232 days).
The complete 2012 Crew regular-season schedule follows (FANS & MEDIA MEMBERS: To download club schedules and national TV schedules directly into your personal calendar, mobile device or desktop, go to http://www.mlssoccer.com/calendar.
HOME GAMES IN BOLD
*Eastern Conference Opponent
-- Eastern Times listed, Schedule is Subject to Change --
Highlights of 2012 Regular Season Schedule:
All 323 games will be televised live:
Fans can watch games live via the national broadcast partners, regional telecasts, the Direct Kick television package (available via select satellite and digital cable providers) and/or on www.MLSsoccer.com via subscription. Regional broadcast schedules will be announced by the clubs as they are finalized.
Majority of games on weekends:
More than 83 percent of all MLS games will take place on weekends or holidays, with every day of the week having at least one scheduled match during the year.
Record day of action – April 28:
The nine MLS games scheduled for Saturday, April 28 are set to break the League record for the most games in one day (previously eight, on March 26, 2011).
International fixture dates:
MLS initially did not schedule any games on FIFA fixture dates, but the League afforded the option, only by mutual club consent, of moving a game to one of those dates when other scheduling conflicts could not be resolved. Thus a small number of games do occur on select FIFA fixture dates.