USL swaps ESPN for multi-platform CBS Sports broadcast deal

November 8 – The United Soccer League (USL), operator of second and third tier professional men’s leagues in the US, has agreed a four-year media rights agreement with CBS that will see matches on network television for the first time.

CBS Sports will air 100 USL matches annually through the 2027 USL Championship and USL League One seasons. Multiplatform coverage will see USL game coverage air across the CBS Television Network and Paramount+, CBS Sports Network and CBS Sports Golazo Network.

Matches on the CBS Television Network will simulcast live on Paramount+. CBS Sports will televise more than 20 USL matches on CBS Sports Network annually and 75 USL matches each season on soccer streaming network CBS Sports Golazo Network.

The second tier Championship has 24 teams competing in two conferences, the bulk of the teams in markets where there is no MLS club. This theoretically makes in fertile ground to build local fandom for local teams. The third tier League One has 12 teams.

This weekend the Charleston Battery and Phoenix Rising will compete in the season closing play-off final. That match, to be broadcast on ESPN2, will mark the conclusion of the USL’s broadcast deal with ESPN with CBS starting next season.

“The United Soccer League – with its expansive and growing presence across the country – is an excellent addition to CBS Sports’ premium soccer portfolio,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports.

“We look forward to making the exciting action of the USL more easily available to fans than ever before and elevating the league with coverage across our CBS Sports platforms.

CBS Sports now features more than 2,500 live matches per year across its various platforms. No value was given for the USL rights acquisition.

In addition to live matches, CBS Sports Golazo Network will provide analysis and commentary of USL competition throughout its live studio programming, including Morning Footy, Box 2 Box and Scoreline.

USL CEO Alec Papadakis, said: “This partnership is a clear indication of the USL’s growth and impact on domestic soccer, providing us with more national TV exposure and platforms to tell stories about our players, clubs, and fans than ever before. We are entering a new, exciting phase, both on and off the field, and we look forward to working with CBS Sports over the next four years to take our leagues and our game to new heights.”

The USL is joining a platform that broadcasts some of the world’s biggest football leagues and national team competitions including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League and UEFA Youth League; UEFA Women’s Champions League; NWSL; Barclay’s Women’s Super League; the Women’s Cup; Concacaf national team competitions (Men’s Nations League and Women’s Gold Cup); Italy’s Serie A; Argentina’s Liga Profesional de Fútbol; Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileirão Série A; the Scottish Professional Football League; Asian Football Confederation competitions (AFC Champions League, AFC Women’s Asian Cup and AFC Asian Cup); and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

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