ESPN, United Soccer League Renew Multiyear Broadcast Pact

ESPN and the United Soccer League (USL) have reached a new multiyear media rights renewal agreement that will see more than 400 live USL Championship and USL League One Cup competition matches air annually on ESPN platforms.

The renewed agreement with ESPN completes the USL’s media package heading into the 2024 season, which includes CBS Sports and local linear partnerships. The USL will air 35 matches on national linear television between CBS Sports channels and ESPN networks, up from nine last season. In addition to national linear and streaming partners, the USL has retained flexibility for clubs to air on local linear broadcasts.

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“As we enter a new era for the USL with the 2026 World Cup approaching, our focus is to provide fans with more ways to watch than ever before and be the most widely available soccer league in our country,” chief commercial officer Court Jeske said in a statement.

The 2024 USL season will begin March 9, featuring multiple matches on ESPN platforms to begin the new agreement. The 24-team league is divided evenly between the Eastern and Western Conferences. Each club will play its conference opponents in a home-and-home series for 22 games, and then play each of the 12 teams from the opposing conference—six games at home, six away—to make up the 34-game schedule. The top eight teams in each conference will qualify for the 2024 USL Championship Playoffs, which will kick off on the weekend of November 1-3. Following a single-elimination playoff format, the postseason will end in the 2024 USL Championship Final on CBS at the end of November.

This marks the ninth year that ESPN has been a media rights partner for the league. The USL is the longest-running professional soccer property on the network and was one of the first properties available on ESPN+ when the streaming service launched in 2018.

As part of the renewal agreement, ESPN will be the exclusive home of the inaugural World Cup-style League One Cup competition, with 51 matches including group stage matches, playoffs and the final, available to stream on ESPN+. The competition’s group stage will kick off the weekend of April 27.

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