ESPN+ eyes more global soccer rights

OTT platform looking at South American and Mexican options.

by Joe Levy

ESPN+ eyes more global soccer rights

Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and scheduling. has said that the US media giant is “stacking up global soccer” for its over-the-top (OTT) platform.

The  ESPN+ service, which launched in April 2018 and has snapped up more than 2 million subscribers, is looking to quickly grow its portfolio of global soccer rights in the US according to Magnus.

ESPN recently secured the rights to Italian top flight Serie A and English soccer’s premier cup competition, the FA Cup, which Magnus claimed wouldn’t have been possible without the advent of ESPN+.

The deal includes the broadcast rights to more than 340 games per season, which would not have been possible to air solely on ESPN’s linear channels.

Now the network's programming executive has revealed that ESPN is not done adding to its OTT rights offering.

“We’re looking at all territories,” Magnus told reporters in New York. “We probably could do more in Latin America, South America, Central America [and] Mexico. That’s the next place we’re going to look.”

ESPN+ also has rights to the Chinese Super League, Major League Soccer (MLS), the Dutch Eredivisie and Australia’s A-League, with Magnus explaining that the service is trying to position itself as essential to the US-based soccer fan.

Adding: “Just having this buffet of great leagues and tournaments around the world is part of our design of making ESPN+ an indispensable proposition for a fan in that category. But in you need to have a critical mass [of rights] in order to have that dynamic.”

Alongside its soccer offering, ESPN+ also airs Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).