Say goodbye to the FA Cup on television in the United States. ESPN’s acquisition of the FA Cup rights in the US will feature all broadcasts streamed on ESPN+ with no plans to air any of the matches on television.
The agreement will bring 79 FA Cup matches – beginning with the First Round in November and running through the Final – exclusively to ESPN+.
While the news that The FA Cup has found a home in the United States after the previous deal ended with FOX Sports, it’s a surprise that ESPN didn’t decide to at least have the semifinals and final on US television. But it’s also a sign that the broadcaster is very confident that ESPN+ will be the go-to streaming platform for a majority of soccer fans. That will be a big change though for many soccer fans who have been accustomed to enjoying the giant killing matches on television.
Coverage of the 2018-19 FA Cup season on ESPN+ will kick off Saturday, Nov. 10, with First Round matches and concludes with the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London on May 18, 2019.
Additional content will be featured across ESPN+ and other ESPN platforms, including FA Cup highlights shows following match days, FA Cup preview shows and live coverage of the FA Cup draws. Furthermore, the semifinals and final matches of the FA Youth Cup – contested by registered clubs featuring players under 18 years of age – will be carried live on ESPN+.
SEE MORE: Schedule of FA Cup games on US streaming
“Acquiring the FA Cup – the oldest national football competition in the world – further demonstrates our commitment to making ESPN+ a must-have for soccer fans in the U.S.,” said Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, ESPN. “With its storied tradition and world-class players and teams, FA Cup will be a signature property in ESPN+’s ever-expanding soccer portfolio.”
Tom Gracey, The FA’s Senior Broadcast Manager said: “The Emirates FA Cup remains the world’s most famous domestic cup competition, with unrivalled appeal both at home and abroad. Thanks to ESPN+, we are delighted that football fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy premium coverage of the competition from the First Round, through to The Final.”
Hillary Mandel, SVP, North America, IMG Media, said: “ESPN is building an outstanding portfolio of top class football from around the world and, in the FA Cup, they have the world’s oldest and most prestigious club tournament. The competition is very special, featuring the minnows of the lower leagues against the likes of the Premier League elite, providing many giant-killings over the years as well as some great cup finals at Wembley. In ESPN, the FA has a great partner who will both showcase and maximize awareness of the competition for the US audience.”
The FA Cup, also called The Football Association Challenge Cup, is the annual knockout competition in English soccer. First played in the 1871-72 season, the competition is open to all registered – professional and non-professional – teams in England. This season (2018-19), more than 700 clubs will compete in the FA Cup.
ESPN+, the new paid subscription service from ESPN, is $4.99/month and also includes the English Championship, Serie A, USL, League Cup, Chinese Super League, Eredivisie, A-League and out-of-market MLS games. ESPN+ also includes the daily ESPN FC soccer news and analysis show.