August 28 – US sports broadcaster ESPN is taking a deeper step into domestic soccer with a new three-year deal the United Soccer League (USL) which will see it triple its coverage of the league.
The broadcaster will now air 18 games from the USL Championship and League One (the second and third tiers of US professional soccer) on ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, and for the first time on Spanish language ESPN Deportes. ESPN will also broadcast the USL Championship Final. All other matches will be streamed live on ESPN+.
ESPN has held USL rights for five years. The new deal will run until 2022.
While the live showcase games on the main channels will be important to driving the profile of the USL nationally, it is the volume of content that ESPN will stream that similarly marks the partnership. In 2019, more than 750 regular season matches across the USL Championship and USL League One will air on ESPN platforms.
“We are thrilled to continue with ESPN and ESPN+,” said USL Executive Vice President Court Jeske. “USL is an organization that aims to put the fans first and we know that supporters across the country will be very pleased with this new three-year agreement and the exposure it brings.”
Broadcast production capability has been a key driver of the USL’s media and marketing platform, having invested in state-of-the-art broadcast production, broadcast and distribution facilities with VISTA Worldlink in south Florida.
Games will continue to be produced by USL Productions.
“We’re delighted to continue our relationship with the United Soccer League, and showcase the USL Championship and USL League One competitions across ESPN networks and ESPN+ through this new agreement,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions.
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