Run Size: 99
Requirements: Supporters are eligible for the patch if they purchased an out-of-market soccer match streaming service for 2018 but were unable to watch a Timbers or Thorns match that was otherwise not broadcast live in their area.
About the Montana Volunteers Merritt Badge:
Timbers matches broadcast on local stations in Portland are supposed to be available live for supporters outside Portland through out-of-market streaming services. Since at least 2013, these matches have been occassionally been blacked out without justification on MLS Live and most recently on ESPN+.
In 2018, supporters throughout the western United States made their frustrations known to MLS, ESPN and the Timbers front office. The Timbers intervened on behalf of the supporters to start to address the improper blackouts.
Thorns matches broadcast on ESPNEWS have been blacked out on ESPN+ for supporters who purchase a tv package that does not include that channel. The ability to watch the Timbers and Thorns live is fundamental to a supporters’ identity. Legally available out-of-market streaming options help supporters who cannot attend each match in person gather to watch and keep up with the teams.
The Montana Volunteers produced this patch as a lighthearted commemoration of the broadcast difficulties soccer supporters still sometimes experience. All supporters are eligible for the badge, regardless of where they live. The badge has been sent to supporters in seven states.