MLS announces longest ever season for 2012

The 2012 Major League Soccer (MLS) season will be the longest ever, spanning 267 days from March 10 to the December 1 MLS Cup, MLS said on Thursday.

Each of the league's 19 clubs will play 34 matches, 17 at home and 17 away, and all 323 matches will be televised live.

In a significant change, MLS did not initially schedule any games on FIFA international fixture dates, although clubs can still play on those dates if there is agreement by both teams.

"Thus, a small number of games do occur on select FIFA fixture dates," MLS said in a statement.

This move brings MLS in line with all the other top football leagues around the world after previously not opting to schedule breaks for FIFA fixture dates.

More than 83 percent of all MLS games will take place on weekends or holidays, and 38 regular season games will be shown on the NBC Sports Network under a new three-year television deal.