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D.C. United, WJLA 24/7 News announce 2020 local TV deal

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After a year away, United is back on the local Sinclair affiliate

Caitlin Buckley

With the 2020 season just eight days away, D.C. United has announced that it will partner with WJLA 24/7 News as its television broadcast partner for the year. Following a disastrous partnership with FloSports that United pulled out of before the end of last season, the Black-and-Red have gone back to Sinclair Broadcasting, their previous local TV rights holder.

WJLA 24/7 News, which was called Newschannel 8 for most of the duration of the previous partnership, will broadcast the 27 United games that are not scheduled for national broadcasts (including the season opener next Saturday against the Colorado Rapids). The broadcasts, which will feature pre- and post-game shows, will have a familiar roster of on-air talent, with Dave Johnson on play-by-play duties for the 25th season. Former United player Devon McTavish will once again handle color commentary, while Claudia Pagan will be the sideline reporter:

WJLA 24/7 News is available on the following local providers:

  • Comcast (channel 808 in HD, 28 in SD)
  • Cox (1008 HD, 8 SD)
  • DirecTV (8, SD only)
  • Dish Network (8, SD only)
  • Verizon FiOS (508 HD, 8 SD)
  • Open Band (8 SD)
  • RCN (608 HD, 308 SD)
  • U.S. Capitol (48 SD, in zip codes 20510 and 20515 only)

United fans were not necessarily thrilled with the previous experience on Newschannel 8, mostly owing to the fact that many popular local providers do not carry the channel in high definition. That situation has not changed, and may have been a major factor in previous reports from The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer and the Washington Post’s Steve Goff indicating that United had in-depth talks with NBC Sports Washington and Fox 5 WTTG. However, a prospective deal with NBCSW didn’t come together, and the club has opted for a one-year deal that guarantees access to every single game of the MLS regular season.

The announcement did not note whether there will be local blackouts or what, if any, plans there are for local streaming. Previous experience with United and Sinclair indicates that fans should expect blackouts within the Beltway, throughout northern Virginia, and up the 270 corridor.