Combined USL media package aims to make USL the most widely available domestic professional soccer league
TAMPA, Fla. & BRISTOL, Conn. (February 27, 2024) – The United Soccer League and ESPN today announced a new multi-year media rights agreement that will see more than 400 live matches per year of the USL Championship and USL League One air on ESPN platforms, starting in 2024.
“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,” said Chief Commercial Officer Court Jeske. “We have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with ESPN during which the USL has grown significantly, and we are incredibly excited to continue this relationship.”
The 2024 season marks the ninth year of USL matches on ESPN, making the league the longest-running professional soccer organization currently featured on ESPN platforms. The USL was one of the first properties available on ESPN+ when the streaming service launched in 2018.
As part of the agreement, ESPN will be the exclusive home of the inaugural League One cup competition, with all group-stage matches, playoffs, and the final available to stream on ESPN+. The World Cup-style competition takes place throughout the year and creates additional matches of consequence in the annual calendar. It features non-traditional modifications that encourage attacking soccer and provide entertaining moments for fans. These include the use of penalty kicks to decide tied matches throughout the tournament and total goals scored as the first standings tiebreaker. Additional information on the cup competition can be found here.
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.
The full national TV broadcast schedule will be announced in the coming days.
In addition to national linear and streaming partners, the USL has retained flexibility for clubs to air a significant number of local linear broadcasts, giving fans more ways than ever to support their club.
The 2024 season sees the addition of first-year clubs Rhode Island FC in the USL Championship and Spokane Velocity FC in USL League One.