The Lions have a new television home. Again.
Today, Orlando City announced a multi-year partnership making the WFTV Channel 9 affiliate TV 27 the club's exclusive English-language local broadcast home. The agreement provides WRDQ TV 27 with telecast rights to all Orlando City regular season and playoff matches not aired by MLS' national television partners.
"We are thrilled to partner with WRDQ TV 27 and WFTV 9 to offer our fans even more Orlando City content each and every week of the 2016 season," said Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins in a club press release.
Part of the new television deal also includes a 30-minute pre- and post-game show, as well as a weekly Orlando City-centric TV show, which will give fans an inside look into the club, including player features and behind-the-scenes access.
"The addition of a pre- and post-game show will elevate the match broadcast to a higher level for our loyal and discerning fans," Rawlins added. "We also greatly anticipate the launch of the weekly show, which will allow fans to learn more about the club, delivering in-depth player profiles and providing behind-the-scenes access like never before. It will also allow us to keep fans informed of our new downtown stadium development, as well as the Orlando Pride and OCB."
Cox Media Group and Orlando City are also working together to create a TV broadcast network to air Lions matches in outer markets throughout Florida.
"This is a wonderful day in the history of WRDQ TV 27 and Cox Orlando," WFTV/WRDQ Vice President and General Manager Paul Curran said in the release. "The station was founded on the premise of localism and community service. Adding Orlando City to our programming portfolio is a natural extension of that promise to our viewers as our values match-up perfectly."
Orlando Sentinel reporter Hal Boedeker reports that TV 27 will air 20 games, which, if true, means Orlando City would have 14 nationally televised games. Orlando City's 34-game MLS schedule for 2016 will be released tomorrow.
As of right now, Jeff Radcliffe and Tom Traxler are expected to return as on-air talent for the broadcasts, since they are employed by the club and not FOX 35, Orlando City’s previous broadcast partner, however there has been no official announcement on this yet. But this is pretty telling:
— Jeff Radcliffe (@Jeff_Radcliffe) January 6, 2016
This is an interesting development since, around this time last year, the club announced a multi-year partnership with FOX 35/My65. Now, after only one year of broadcasting, the club has decided to move in a different direction.
It's also worth noting that the WFTV/WRDQ broadcasting offices live next door to the Orlando City front offices and are closer to the new downtown stadium location than FOX 35 was. Their offices were in Lake Mary, closer to the team's training grounds.
The first match against Real Salt Lake on March 6th will be the first to be broadcast on TV 27.
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) January 6, 2016