Tuesday, April 12, 2005
By David Deal
The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, jointly announced today that an agreement has been reached which places the League's 2005 MISL Championship Series Finals live in prime time on ESPN2. The exclusive agreement features MISL Championship Series Finals Game One from U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee on Saturday, May 14 at 9:00 p.m. EST and Championship Series Finals Game Two from Savvis Center in St. Louis on Saturday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. EST.
“I am very pleased to announce our relationship with ESPN,” stated MISL Commissioner Steve Ryan. “I applaud the foresight of the MISL Management Committee for their unanimous support last month in revising the format of our Championship Series Finals and enhancing the marketability of the Finals for national television. I would also like to thank ESPN for recognizing the value of indoor soccer as a television product. There’s no better national platform to showcase our world-class players and expose the appeal of our game to sports fans across the country.”
The 2005 MISL Championship Series Finals is a two-game, “home and home” series featuring the winners of the Championship Series Semifinals. Should the finalists split their two games, an overtime period with a “Golden Goal” will determine the 2005 MISL Champion.
"This agreement with the MISL represents a natural extension of ESPN's commitment to the growth of soccer in the United States," said Leah Buhl, ESPN senior director for programming. "MISL is a great addition to ESPN's portfolio of marquee soccer programming that includes Major League Soccer, the NCAA championships, UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup."
Tickets for Championship Game One in Milwaukee may be purchased through the Milwaukee Wave Box Office, online through TicketMaster, or by phone at 414-224-9283. Tickets for Championship Game Two in St. Louis may be purchased through the St. Louis Steamers Box Office, online through TicketMaster, or by phone at 314-241-1888.
The 2005 MISL Championship Series is scheduled to begin the weekend of April 29 through May 1. The Championship Series consists of four teams. The MISL Regular Season Champion receives an automatic bid to postseason play and earns the No. 1 seed as determined by regular season win percentage. The other postseason spots are allotted to the three teams with the next best regular season win percentage, determining the No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 seeds.
The Championship Series Semifinal Round is a two-game “home and home” series, with the No. 4 seed meeting the No. 1 seed and the No. 3 seed drawing the No. 2 seed. The higher seed reserves the right to choose home field for either Game One or Game Two. Should the semifinalists split their two games, an overtime period with a “Golden Goal” will determine the series winner, which will advance to the MISL Championship Series Final.
Launched October 1, 1993 in 10 million households, ESPN2 currently reaches nearly 89 million. The network offers more than 4,800 live and/or original hours of sports programming annually, including MLB, NBA, NHL, college football and basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, auto racing and more.
The Major Indoor Soccer League is a single-entity organization featuring a coast-to-coast presence with seven teams located across the United States. The MISL is the single major league of indoor soccer. In February of 2004, the League announced an expansion team in Stockton, CA, that will begin play in 2005-06. On May 4, 2004, the League announced plans for an expansion team in Newark, NJ, that will begin play in 2007-08. The 2004-05 regular season concludes on Sunday, April 24. The top four teams in the standings qualify for the 2005 MISL Championship Series, which commences with the Semifinal Round on the weekend of April 29-May 1. The 2005 MISL Championship Series Finals are scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee (Game One) and Saturday, May 21 at Savvis Center in St. Louis (Game Two). For more information on the MISL, visit the League’s website at www.MISL.net.