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D.C. United Ends Streaming Deal With FloSports Early, After Season of Technical Issues

Jason Gurwin

In January, FloSports, an Austin-based streaming upstart, was the surprise winner of the local streaming rights to D.C. United games. The deal was to pay the MLS team $12 million over four years for the rights to stream games in the D.C. market.

But throughout the season, fans have had nothing but issues with streaming the games with FloSports. In their debut, some local users were blocked from watching the games, while others faced streaming issues throughout the season. Part of the allure of FloSports was their ability to create additional programming for D.C. United, but that never arrived.

With a frustrated fan base, D.C. United pulled the plug ahead of their season finale. Instead, they will air their game against FC Cincinnati on their website at no cost. D.C. United confirmed to The Washington Post, that the team “will no longer be distributing our match telecasts through FloSports. Announcements on broadcast plans for the 2020 season and beyond will be made in due course.”

FloSports other MLS partner, FC Cincinnati, which deal runs through 2020 hasn’t said if they also plan to sever ties. However, those in Cincinnati are also able to watch the games locally on MyNetwork TV affiliate WSTR.

For next season, D.C. United could look for deals with ESPN+, who streams in-markets games for Chicago Fire, or YouTube TV who streams Seattle Sounders, LAFC, and Orlando City SC. After all the streaming issues though, it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to reach a deal with NBC Sports Washington or a local affiliate in the market.

Losing one of their major partners is a huge blow for FloSports. The company, which raised $47 million in June, had their eyes set on acquiring the local streaming rights for every MLS team. In an interview earlier this year, CEO Mark Floreani said, “I’ve told the MLS when their deal comes up I want it.” With the loss of D.C. United, that now becomes unlikely.

For FloSports, who also airs niche sports like rugby and bowling, as well as smaller college football and basketball matchups — has the deep pockets to rebound. But, before they acquire rights to a any major sports, they are going to have to convince teams that their technology is good enough for teams and their fans to rely on.