Tropics, WFLA/WTTA announce partnership for live television broadcasts of all 12 home MASL games

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – Central and West Central Florida fans of professional indoor soccer will have easy access to games and highlights during the 2019-20 Major Arena Soccer League season as the Lakeland-based Florida Tropics SC and WTTA (Great 38)/WFLA (News Channel 8) have reached a deal to broadcast all 12 of the team's home games this coming winter and be the “Official Television Station of the Florida Tropics SC.”

Start times for Saturday games at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland will be 5:05 p.m., with Sunday starts set for 3:05 p.m. Included in the broadcast package on WTTA will be the team's fourth home opener on Saturday, Dec. 14. against their local rivals, the Orlando SeaWolves. The team's complete 24 game schedule can be found by CLICKING HERE.

“This is a historic moment for our fans and the franchise to be able to bring live professional soccer back to the airwaves of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Bradenton, Clearwater and of course Lakeland and Polk County,” said Dr. Panos Iakovidis, the team's Chief Executive Officer. “Indoor soccer, literally, was created back in the late 1970s with television specifically in mind. The high scoring, fast-paced action is easy to follow and all the goals and scoring chances make it exciting for fans to watch whether in the arena or at home.”

Tampa Bay is the 11th largest television market in the country. The Tropics will be the only pro soccer team in Polk County and the West Central Florida area to have their games broadcast live on over-the-air television. WTTA (Great 38) is the sister-station to NBC Tampa affiliate WFLA (News Channel 8). WTTA is available on Spectrum Cable channel 6 and 1006, FIOS channel 14 and 514, Comcast Cable Channel 11 and 435, and Knology Channel 6. All 24 Tropics games will also be streamed live at www.masl.tv.

“WFLA and WTTA are always looking for local, family friendly programming to bring to our viewers. To that end, we are very happy to partner with the Florida Tropics Major Arena Soccer League Team and broadcast 12 of their games on WTTA, Great 38. This will make this exciting sport even more accessible to Tropics’ fans and future fans,” said Skip Valet, VP/General Manager WFLA & WTTA.

The attractive slate of home games includes broadcasts involving the most historic and successful franchises in the history of professional indoor soccer. The San Diego Sockers, Baltimore Blast and Milwaukee Wave all began play in the 1980s, and between them have a remarkable 30 world championships.

The Milwaukee Wave won the 2018-19 MASL championship, and will visit on Dec. 28. The Baltimore Blast won the three previous league titles, and will be in town on Dec. 21. San Diego, winners of 13 titles, will be on WTTA's broadcast of Feb. 8.

Two other “legacy” teams who trace their lineage to the 1980s – the Kansas City Comets and St. Louis Ambush – are also part of the WTTA package as are three games against the Tropics chief rivals, the Orlando SeaWolves.

Following is the 12-game broadcast schedule:

Saturday, Dec. 14 vs. Orlando SeaWolves, 5:05 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 21 vs. Baltimore Blast, 5:05 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 28 vs. Milwaukee Wave, 5:05 p.m.

Sunday, Jan 12 vs. Orlando SeaWolves, 3:05 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 19 vs. Orlando SeaWolves, 3:05 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 25 vs. St. Louis Ambush, 5:05 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 8 vs. San Diego Sockers, 5:05 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 15, vs. Rochester Lancers, 5:05 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 22 vs. Soles de Sonora, 5:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 8 vs. St. Louis Ambush, 3:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 15 vs. Kansas City Comets, 3:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 22 vs. Turlock Express, 3:05 p.m.

“We are incredibly excited about this partnership. We look forward to working together with the station to grow the game of professional indoor soccer in our area,” said Tropics General Manager, Andrew Ross.

Veteran broadcaster Brian Ackley will continue to be the “Voice of the Tropics” on the broadcast for the upcoming season. Ackley originally covered the Major Indoor Soccer League's Buffalo Stallions, and was a broadcaster for the Buffalo Blizzard of the National Professional Soccer League. He also provided both play-by-play and color commentary for the University at Buffalo football and men's basketball team. Most recently, in addition to his work with the Tropics, he served as the play-by-play voice of the Florida Tarpons indoor football team.

Florida will be part of an expanded Eastern Conference this winter – along with the Orlando SeaWolves, Milwaukee Wave, Baltimore Blast, Harrisburg Heat, Utica City FC, Mississauga MetroStars, Rochester Lancers, St. Louis Ambush and Kansas City Comets. The top four conference teams will advance to the MASL post-season.

The Tropics are coming off their national championship title in the United Premier Soccer League this summer, led by Victor Parreiras, who returns to the indoor pitch as the team's active leading scorer, with 44 goals and 31 assists. Parreiras was named MVP of both the regular season and playoffs by UPSL staff and journalists who cover the league.

He had 12 goals and 10 assists in helping the Tropics to a perfect 18-0-0 record. In the national championship game in Weatherford, Texas, Parreiras tied the score in second-half stoppage time with a spectacular goal, and was one of the Tropics players to convert in the PK round which secured the crown.

Newcomers Gordy Gurson, Ricardo Carvalho, Drew Ruggles, Joey Tavernese and others will join Parreiras along with fan favorites Anthony Arico, Lucas Teixeira, Hugo Silva, Lucas Montelares and Antonio Manfut as part of the indoor sides significant roster upgrade in the offseason. The Tropics signed four of the top 13 free agents in the league this off-season as ranked by the independent website www.turfandboards.com which covers the indoor sport.

For more information, including season-ticket specials, visit www.fltropics.com or call 863-240-0101.