The United Soccer League (USL), the second tier of club soccer in the US, has announced an expansion of its broadcast agreement with ESPN for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The changes will see more regular-season games shown on the ESPN’s linear networks, while the US broadcaster’s new over-the-top (OTT) streaming service ESPN Plus, which is due to be launched on 12th April, will become the league’s streaming subscription service in the US.
ESPN will broadcast six USL regular season games and the 2018 USL Cup on its linear channels, with the full 2018 Game of the Week schedule set to be released in the coming weeks.
In addition, the league’s regular-season contests will be available in the US through ESPN Plus. The league's broadcasts will reside alongside Major League Soccer (MLS) with the new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service through ESPN.
Prior to the launch of ESPN Plus, all USL regular season contests will be available through the league’s YouTube channel.
“We are thrilled to expand our valued relationship with ESPN through the 2019 season,” said Alec Papadakis, chief executive of the USL. “Our collaboration has grown organically over the last few years, as we’ve worked closely to continually enhance our broadcasts. Our clubs and players will benefit from the significantly increased exposure across ESPN’s linear networks, ESPN3, and our presence on ESPN Plus.”
“We have worked in great collaboration with the USL to leverage numerous ESPN touch points to reach fans, and will continue to do so through this latest agreement,” added Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president of ESPN Programming. “We look forward to our expanded relationship as we serve fans across our platforms in new and engaging ways.”