More than one-third of Sporting Kansas City’s games — 13 of 34 regular-season contests — will be nationally televised in the club’s quest for a third straight Eastern Conference regular-season title.
That’s a dose of good news.
Of course, Sporting KC also learned Wednesday, when Major League Soccer released its full schedule, that it will begin and end the season on the road for three of four matches.
Manager Peter Vermes chose to look at the bright side.
“It’s a lot better than having 10 on the road to start the season,” Vermes said, referring to the start of the 2011 season as the finishing touches were applied to Livestrong Sporting Park. “To me, it’s nothing to lose sleep over. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. That’s our schedule.”
A busy 2013 season for Sporting KC kicks off March 2 against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
That’s also where Sporting KC finishes up the regular season — at the Union Oct. 26, a game that will be televised on NBC Sports Network.
Sporting KC, which also will try to repeat as Lamar Hunt U.S. Cup champions and make a deep run in CONCACAF Champions League, is scheduled for eight appearances on NBC Sports Network, beginning with the home opener March 16 against the Chicago Fire at Livestrong Sporting Park.
NBC Sports Network also will be at Livestrong for matches against the Houston Dynamo (May 26), New York Red Bulls (Aug. 3), Philadelphia (Sept. 27) and D.C. United (Oct. 18) in addition to road battles at the LA Galaxy (April 20) and Chicago Fire (Aug. 23).
Two other road tests for Sporting KC — May 12 at Houston and July 7 at Chicago — will be broadcast on ESPN.
Finally, UniMas (a Spanish-language network formerly known as TeleFutura) will air the Cinco de Mayo contest against Chivas USA at Livestrong and two other road games, May 19 at D.C. United and Aug. 18 at San Jose.
Callum Williams and Jake Yadrich will have the call for all non-nationally televised games on KSMO Channel 62, which also will air an English-language broadcast of the three UniMas broadcasts.
“We’re all very excited to start the season again,” Vermes said.
Sporting KC doesn’t play more than two consecutive games on the road at any point in the season, but there will still be some challenging road trips.
Easily the season’s toughest road swing comes in mid-April when Sporting KC goes bi-coastal, playing at the Red Bulls on April 17 then in Los Angeles three days later — and nearly 3,000 miles away.
Using the same unbalanced schedule as last season, Sporting KC plays each Eastern Conference team except New York and New England three times.
Sporting KC will play host to D.C. United, Montreal and Columbus twice with two road contests at Philadelphia, Toronto, Houston and Chicago.
Sporting KC also will have to squeeze in a series of Open Cup matches during the summer months along with four contests among six Champions League game windows — Aug. 6-8, Aug. 20-22, Aug. 27-29, Sept. 17-19, Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 22-24.
Ticketmaster scoops MLS on All-Star Game
MLS Commissioner Don Garber is holding a news conference Thursday afternoon at Livestrong Sporting Park, but Ticketmaster stole his thunder.
An alert Sporting Kansas City blogger for Down the Byline posted a screen capture from the ticket-seller’s website Tuesday, advertising for the 2013 MLS All-Star Game at 7:30 p.m. July 31 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Before it was removed later that night, Ticketmaster’s website also indicated a presale for tickets, which started at $30, would begin Friday at 10 a.m. with tickets on sale to the general public Feb. 8.