MLS Direct Kick is an Out-of-Market Sports Package distributed by most cable and satellite providers in North America. As of the 2011 season, package subscribers will be able to watch up to 221 Major League Soccer regular season games as well as some MLS Cup playoff matches. The target market for this package (based on advertisements) is soccer fans who are unable to see games because they have moved out of that team's market.
If a local MLS team is playing and the game is being seen locally, the associated feed on MLS Direct Kick is blacked out. Note also the games being televised on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, TeleFutura/Galavisión, and NBC/NBC Sports Network telecasts are not available in the package due to the rights of those games being purchased by the previous television stations prior to the beginning of the season.
The MLS Direct Kick Package was known as The MLS/ESPN Shootout Package in the early years of MLS. The name change occurred prior to the 2005 MLS season.
With the increase in digital rights for MLS, triggered by the signing of a new television contract between the league, U.S. Soccer, ESPN, Fox Sports, and Univision Deportes, Direct Kick will be abolished after the 2014 season - to be replaced by an out-of-market Internet package provided by ESPN 3.
1 Indicates the channel is still in existence, but currently operates as a basic cable channel. 2 Star Channel was part of Warner Communications' QUBE interactive cable service, and was the precursor to present-day The Movie Channel.