Real Salt Lake fans came out in droves for support of analyst Brian Dunseth as news broke Tuesday that Major League Soccer and Apple cemented a 10-year partnership that would, in part, do away with local broadcasts of MLS games starting in 2023.
Dunseth is a former RSL player and a current fixture on KMYU as a color analyst. He is famous locally for his sharp attire, his choice in sneakers, and the colorful sayings he solicits from fans and uses on broadcasts.
But the new deal between MLS and Apple puts Dunseth’s role in jeopardy.
“Everyone knew this was coming, just not the details,” Dunseth said. “Just waiting to see if I’m involved.”
The partnership will create a new streaming service for every soccer game in the league that will be available to full-season ticket holders, the league said in a news release. For the rest, the league said the price of the new service will be announced in the coming months.
Each game will have national broadcasters on the call. The league, however, said fans will have the opportunity to listen to local radio broadcast talent via a drop-down menu on the new app.
Who that will be in the Utah market remains to be seen. MLS has told teams the league “will closely review and consider every broadcaster for potential roles with the new MLS streaming service.”
That’s why fans are clamoring for Dunseth to stay.
One fan started a petition on change.org in support of Dunseth. Others lamented on Twitter about the possibility of losing the affable analyst, who partners with play-by-play man David James.
“@BrianDunseth IS @realsaltlake broadcasting,” wrote the official Twitter account of The Riot, a collective of all RSL supporter groups. “You can’t get one without the other!! @MLS and @AppleTV you better not [expletive] this up! #RSL.”
RSL games have for years been broadcast on KMYU and streamed for free on KSL, but that will end under the new broadcast deal.
It appears that RSL broadcasts on ESPN 700 in Utah could be unaffected.
The league is touting its new partnership with Apple as being fan-centric and allowing for more visibility than ever before for MLS. It also said match days will largely be on Saturday nights.
“Apple is the perfect partner to further accelerate the growth of MLS and deepen the connection between our clubs and their fans,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a news release. “Given Apple’s ability to create a best-in-class user experience and to reach fans everywhere, it’ll be incredibly easy to enjoy MLS matches anywhere, whether you’re a super fan or casual viewer.”