SEATTLE, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC today announced its regional broadcast details for the 2016 Major League Soccer season, highlighted by the unveiling of Keith Costigan and Matt Johnson as the club’s new play-by-play voices for regional television and radio broadcasts, respectively.
Following the strongest regional television ratings in club history – including an 11 percent increase in year-over-year viewership and the highest regional household ratings in MLS throughout 2015 – Sounders FC continues its relationship with Q13 FOX (KCPQ-Channel 13) and JOEtv (KZJO-Channel 22) as the regional television home of the Rave Green.
Additionally, ROOT SPORTS is set to continue as the live out-of-market television home of Sounders FC throughout the Pacific Northwest, with Univision-Seattle (KUNS-TV) returning to provide Spanish-language coverage of the Rave Green in Western Washington. Additionally, Sounders FC continues its agreement with Bonneville Seattle Radio Group, as KIRO Radio 97.3 FM remains the English radio home of the Rave Green, while the club has renewed its Spanish-language radio partnership with El Rey 1360 AM.
“Not only are we proud to announce these agreements with our team of supportive and innovative regional broadcast partners, we’re also thrilled to be adding two incredible play-by-play talents to our broadcast staff in Keith Costigan and Matt Johnson,” said Sounders FC Chief Operating Officer Bart Wiley. “In Keith we’re adding a broadcaster with national and international experience from his time with FOX Sports Media Group, while Matt brings a nuanced understanding of our club from his previous experience with Sounders FC, in addition to an unrivaled background in the Seattle sports scene from the past 20 years in this market.”
For the first time in club history, Sounders FC is airing separate television and radio broadcasts to fans of the Rave Green, having previously simulcast a singular broadcast product. Costigan joins analyst and Sounders FC icon Kasey Keller in the TV booth for all 20 matches airing regionally on Q13 FOX and JOEtv, while Johnson is set to provide radio play-by-play coverage for every fixture on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, in addition to pre and post-match commentary on the club’s regional television broadcasts. Johnson is set to call matches alongside a rotating panel of analysts, including former Sounders Danny Jackson and Wade Webber, in addition to current Seattle University Head Coach Pete Fewing.
An active part of FOX Sports Media Group’s international and domestic soccer coverage, Costigan brings more than 11 years of professional broadcast experience to the CenturyLink Field booth, having worked as a play-by-play commentator, analyst and reporter during that span. Currently Costigan serves in a play-by-play role for FOX’s coverage of the German Bundesliga and UEFA Europa League, in addition to freelance work on Univision’s English-language MLS broadcasts. As a reporter, Costigan has secured exclusive interviews on behalf of FOX Sports with some of the biggest names in global football, including current Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale.
Costigan has also been assigned to onsite coverage of some of world soccer’s biggest events, including the UEFA Champions League and 2012 UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Costigan holds a UEFA A coaching license following a professional playing career that included stops with Bray Wanderers, Monaghan United and the Portland Timbers during the club’s USL era.
“First of all, it’s an honor to join an incredible broadcast team. The likes of Kasey Keller and Steve Zakuani are top-level, and I’m excited to work alongside Matt Johnson and the other staff in Seattle,” said Costigan. “I am also excited to be in one of the best soccer communities not just in America, but in world football. Seattle is a club that I have always been interested in from afar, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it now. As a commentator you aspire to work with top teams, and I’m getting the opportunity to do that. I’m sure the first time I call a match and CenturyLink Field is rocking, I’m going to have goosebumps. I can’t stress how excited I am to call games there.”
Johnson re-joins the Sounders FC broadcast team after serving as the pre-match, halftime and post-match radio host from 2009-2014. During that period, he also hosted Sounders FC Weekly, the club’s weekly 60-minute radio show on the Bonneville family of networks. The Seattle-native has spent the last 11 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks as Executive Producer of Seahawks Radio Network and worked three Super Bowls (XL, XLVIII, XLIX). In addition to his time with the Seahawks, Johnson has an extensive radio broadcast background after working at Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR from 1996-2005. A lifelong fan of the beautiful game, Johnson has been to the last six FIFA World Cups, attending over 40 individual FIFA World Cup matches since 1994, in addition to 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, 2008 UEFA Cup Final and FA Cup Final. Johnson currently resides in Queen Anne and is an active participant in the Greater Seattle Soccer League.
“To come back to my hometown soccer club is an absolute dream come true. I would like to thank Adrian Hanauer, Joe Roth and Bart Wiley for extending this opportunity to me that I could not pass up,” said Johnson. “I remember watching Sounders games in Memorial Stadium, the Kingdome and being part of that first MLS match in 2009 vs. the New York Red Bulls. To say that I’m coming back to Sounders FC is a feeling I can’t put into words. I have traveled the world watching this great game, and the atmosphere in Seattle very much compares to every venue that I have been lucky enough to visit.”
Johnson continues, “I’m very excited to work with and learn from Keith Costigan, and to reconnect with Kasey Keller, Steve Zakuani, Wade Webber, Pete Fewing, Danny Jackson and the other talented members of the Sounders broadcast team. I am moving from one great organization to another without having to change my address – I would like to thank the Seattle Seahawks for 11 wonderful seasons. There are memories there that will not be replaced, but I’m just lucky enough to come somewhere where we’ll make some new ones.”
Highlights of Sounders FC’s partnership with Q13 FOX and JOEtv include a 30-minute pre-match show and 30-minute post-match wrap-up following each locally telecast contest, two 30-minute Sounders FC specials during the 2016 season and a weekly segment during Friday’s “Q It Up” sportscast throughout the season. Eight 2016 Sounders FC matches, including a nationally televised clash with Portland on July 17, are being carried by Q13 FOX, with the remaining 13 regional fixtures slated for JOEtv. Pre-match and halftime shows will be hosted once again by Jackie Montgomery, alongside broadcast analysts Taylor Graham, Marcus Hahnemann and Steve Zakuani.
“Q13 FOX and JOEtv are thrilled to once again bring the excitement of the Seattle Sounders to our television audience,” said Pam Pearson, SVP / General Manager of Q13 FOX and JOEtv. “As fans and partners we look forward to another incredible season.”Additionally, ROOT SPORTS returns as the live out-of-market home of Sounders FC regional broadcasts, bringing nine live matches to households throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. ROOT SPORTS is also set to re-air Sounders FC matches regionally throughout the network’s five-state regional footprint, in addition to carrying Sounders FC All-Access – a biweekly Sounders FC magazine show that provides fans with an advanced level of depth and access surrounding the club.
Sounders FC has partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group to air Sounders FC Spanish-language programming in 2016, including a minimum of 10 MLS match telecasts on Univision-Seattle (KUNS-TV). Hosted by Univision-Seattle's play-by-play voice Jaime Mendez and analyst Diego Arrioja, Sounders FC Fútbol en Vivo makes its 2016 debut on Saturday, March 19 when the Rave Green take on Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC at CenturyLink Field. As part of the agreement, Sinclair is set to again air 15 episodes of Sounders FC en Acción, a weekly 30-minute recap show on Univision-Seattle hosted by Mendez. Airing Saturday evenings at 6:00 p.m. PT, Sounders FC en Acción gives Western Washington's Hispanic community and Sounders FC fans an inside look at their favorite Seattle Sounders FC players with exclusive interviews and appearances, as well as a recap of the Rave Green’s key happenings of the past week’s action.
“We couldn’t be more excited for the 2016 Sounders season. With each year, we see new Sounders fútbol fans in the Hispanic community,” said Janene Drafs, Vice President & General Manager, Sinclair Media of Seattle. “We are proud and privileged to broadcast Sounders matches in Spanish and to continue our long-standing partnership with Sounders FC.”
Bonneville Seattle Radio Group returns as the English radio home of Sounders FC, with KIRO Radio 97.3 FM set to carry all home and away matches throughout 2016. In addition to match broadcasts, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM is carrying pre and post-match shows surrounding most Sounders FC contests, once again hosted by Jason Rantz with a rotating panel of analysts that include Wade Webber, Pete Fewing and Danny Jackson, among others. Additionally, a 60-minute Sounders FC-focused show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM will air at 9:00 p.m. PT every Thursday evening throughout the season featuring Rantz and Matt Johnson.
For the second consecutive season, the club has partnered with El Rey 1360 AM as the Spanish-language home for Sounders FC matches. With play-by-play voice “Zuper” Mario Rodriguez and analyst Felipe Maqueda on the call, El Rey 1360 AM is set to carry all 34 Sounders FC matches during the 2016 season, as well as any Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League fixtures, beginning February 23 vs. Club America. El Rey 1360 AM also provides 30-minute pre-match and post-match shows as part of their matchday coverage, as well as a 30-minute weekly radio show, Somos Sounders FC, airing Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. PT.
Sounders FC continues its 2015 preseason presented by adidas this weekend as the club travels to Mt. San Antonio College on Saturday, February 13 for a week of camp, with the club scheduled to play in a pair of friendlies against UCLA and LA Galaxy. Seattle begins its 2016 campaign on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at home in the first leg of the 2015-2016 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals against defending SCCL champion Club America. That contest is being carried by FOX Sports 1 nationally, in addition to regional radio broadcasts via KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and El Rey 1360 AM. The Rave Green kick-off the MLS regular season on Sunday, March 6 against Sporting Kansas City on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field (4:00 p.m. PT / FOX Sports 1).