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MLS Live will (thankfully) return next year

The best soccer streaming service will live to stream another year

MLS Live is the best way to watch out-of-market soccer, and it has been under threat for years. ESPN acquired the streaming rights to Major League Soccer as a part of the $90 million per year deal that the league signed with ESPN, Fox, and Univision. In the original reports after the deal was signed, it was stated that MLS games would be available through ESPN3 and that an over-the-top subscription would be available for those who couldn't authenticate.

However, that didn't happen this year and, thankfully, it won't happen next year either. I find ESPN3 to be a fairly bad platform to watch on the computer: its user interface hasn't been updated in years, you can't resize the viewing box except to make it full screen, and I have had authentication problems throughout the years. It is moderately better when streamed through a device direct to your TV or through an app on a mobile device, but it needs a massive overhaul.

The other soccer options out there, Fox Soccer 2 Go and NBC Sports Live Extra, are both problematic as well. The NBC Sports apps are widely reviled on all platforms, and Fox Soccer 2 Go is no better.

Into all of this came MLS Live. Ignoring its brief foray into the horrendous world of Silverlight, I have always been able to play it on all of my devices with no problem. The condensed games are a great way to catch up on the rest of the league when you don't have time to watch the full games, and non-nationally broadcast games are up on the site quickly.

The main complaint about MLS Live is that people can't be cord cutters and use it to watch their hometown team. MLS Live has never been and will never be an option for cord-cutters, and the League has tried to make that clear every year. Let me repeat that: MLS Live has never been and will never be an option for cord-cutters. It would be nice if it were, but that is the way that TV deals across the United States are structured.

MLS Live is the best interface for watching soccer online and it is staying around for another year. If ESPN knew what was best for them, they would just use MLS Live as the basis for their next update to ESPN3.