League announced a four-year partnership with CBS Network will air 100 USL matches annually through 2027.
CBS and the United States Soccer League have reached an agreement to broadcast games on network television for the time in the league’s history.
The agreement announced on Tuesday, which goes through the 2027 USL Championship and League One seasons, includes five matches on CBS, including the USL Championship Final. It also includes 20 matches each season on the CBS Sports Network and an additional 75 streaming matches on CBS Sports Golazo Network. Games will be simulcast on Paramount+.
ESPN had been USL’s exclusive national media partner for the past eight seasons. All USL games were available on ESPN+ with select games, including the championship game, available on ESPN2. Disney did not, however, broadcast any USL matches on the company’s broadcast network affiliate ABC.
“CBS Sports has become a destination for soccer fans in America, and we are thrilled to bring to their platforms the unique soccer experience that only the USL provides,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “We are entering a new, exciting phase, both on and off the field, and we look forward to working with CBS Sports over the next four years to take our leagues and our game to new heights.”
The USL makes up the second and third tiers of American soccer. It is the longest-running professional soccer organization in the United States, originally founded in 1991.
MLS moving its matches to Apple TV+ on a streaming-only, subscription platform means that CBS will the only broadcaster to show domestic soccer broadcasts available on linear television. Last season, CBS held the rights to the US Open Cup, seeing a bump in viewership thanks to a run to the final from Lionel Messi and Inter Miami. The US Open Cup is oldest ongoing national soccer competition, featuring teams from MLS and the two tiers of the USL.
ESPN will broadcast its final USL game on 12 November when Charleston Battery hosts Phoenix Rising FC in the Championship Final 12 November. The Guardian