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soccer

USL extends broadcast coverage through two new deals

Deal represents the USL’s first international television broadcast contract

MIAMI, Fla.  (August 22, 2020) Through a new rights agreement with Caribbean broadcaster Flow Sports, the USL Championship is now available to approximately 600,000 homes across 22 countries in the Caribbean.

This latest transaction is part of the United Soccer League effort to expand its fan base. The USL also has a new media rights deals with SiriusXM.

With the Flow Sports agreement, the United Soccer League has reached its first-ever international television agreement. The agreement was secured by global sports business agency SPORTFIVE, which entered into a partnership with the USL earlier this year to market the international broadcasting rights for the USL Championship and USL League One.

Flow Sports adds live USL linear broadcasts to its already impressive portfolio of premier global soccer rights, which include the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, Concacaf tournaments, Coppa Italia, and the FIFA Concacaf Zone 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.

“The USL is excited to partner with Flow to better serve our Caribbean fans and I expect this will be the first of many international territories to get a fresh look at USL’s brand of soccer,” said USL executive vice president Court Jeske. “With a large amount of Championship players representing countries in that region, we’re thrilled to offer fans an opportunity to gain regular access to our leagues.”

“We’re showing our fans and stakeholders that the USL is growing at a tremendous rate. We have been selective in pursuing partnerships that elevate our profile within soccer and the larger sports world, domestically and abroad,” said Jeske, who added: “We’re confident that these ventures will deliver our own distinct brand of soccer — USL Soccer — to audiences.”

“We’re proud to have helped secure an agreement for the USL with its first international-based television partner in Flow Sports,” said Dennis Spencer, SPORTFIVE Senior Vice President, Media.  “There is great passion in the Caribbean for soccer, which makes this relationship to bring USL action to Flow Sports viewers a terrific fit.”  

“We are very excited to bring the USL to our soccer fans across the region. Many of our Caribbean players from youth, senior and professional teams have progressed through and are a valued part of the USL.  It’s great to be able to showcase the talent from our communities preforming in the USL on Flow Sports,” said Britta Reinhardt, VP, Chief Commercial Officer, B2C at Cable & Wireless.

It was brokered by Sportfive, which is the agency formerly known as Lagardere Sports and Entertainment. USL and Sportfive partnered earlier this year to market USL Championship and League One international broadcast rights. SPORTFIVE has an experienced media sales team and robust global network that allows it to effectively package and sell media rights around the world. The agency is also the leading marketer of soccer rights globally and has relationships with more than 90 European football clubs and two FIFA associations, including the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the Asian Football Confederation.

In August 2019, USL signed a three-year deal with ESPN for the domestic broadcast rights. While the bulk of Championship and League One matches appear on ESPN+, more have appeared on linear networks this year as the league returned to live play. That deal is worth a low seven-figures to USL, according to sources.

Jeske said the league will receive a rights fee from Flow Sports, but declined to comment further. He declined to comment on the financial terms of the SiriusXM deal.

“We have two focal points: one is to go deeper with our domestic partner ESPN and the ESPN+ platform. That is where our younger, digitally native fans are consuming our matches. We’re working hard to understand their mindset and deliver a product to serve them,” Jeske said. “The second is to continue to grow our distribution internationally and ensure the global soccer community continually recognizes that the USL is a league on the rise. We are open for business globally for players, coaches, and fans.”

By Ken Russo

My work in the business of soccer applies skills acquired in law practice with a focus on the sport's commercial, communications and sporting components. Russo Soccer aims to inform, educate and engage in dialogue on news and relevant issues in the game.

Um advogado por formação, concentro meu trabalho nos negócios, comunicações e operações de equipes no futebol mundial. | Abogado con fundación avanzada en comunicaciones, enfocado en los negocios del fútbol y las comunicaciones. | Je suis un avocat experimenté dans les affaires de football.

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