The United Soccer League (USL) has a new media rights deal with ESPN.

Per the Sports Business Journal, the deal with ESPN is a multi-year pact through 2026. There is plenty of tonnage involved here: ESPN is streaming over 400 matches annually from both the USL Championship and USL League One and will be airing at least ten matches on its cable networks.

The deal was announced on Tuesday by the USL.

The USL announced a deal with CBS Sports in November. CBS will air 100 matches each season from the USL Championship and USL League One on its platforms, including at least 20 matches on CBS Sports Network. The combined deals pay “in the high seven figures” each year and will see 35 matches airing on linear networks during the 2024 season, with the CBS deal running through 2027, a season longer than ESPN’s end.

CBS and ESPN also partnered on the NWSL’s new media rights deals, along with Amazon and Scripps. Those four media companies are paying a combined $60 million annually, with CBS nabbing the rights to at least 21 games a year and ESPN acquiring 20. The NWSL’s deals run through 2027.

MLS, the top domestic league in the United States, has a ten-year global deal with Apple paying $250 million annually through 2032. Fox also has a four-year deal with MLS that includes 34 regular season games, eight playoff matches, and MLS Cup airing annually on its linear networks.

Both the USL Championship and USL League One seasons begin on Saturday, March 9.

[Sports Business Journal, USL, image via USL]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.