Highlighted by the inaugural season of Austin FC, the opening of three new soccer stadiums, and the most expansive and accessible national broadcast schedule in the league’s history, the complete 2021 MLS regular season match schedule, including national broadcast details, was unveiled this week by Major League Soccer.
Major League Soccer’s 26th season will be the most accessible ever, at home and on connected devices. A record 37 games will be shown in the U.S. over-the-air on ABC, FOX, Univision and UniMás national network broadcasts, with more to be added in the months ahead. In addition, ESPN+ will stream all regional broadcasts nationally, out-of-market, in the United States.
The 2021 season will see all 27 MLS clubs compete in 34 regular season matches, 17 home and 17 away, with an emphasis on intra-conference regional play. At the end of the regular season, the top seven teams from each conference will qualify for the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Kicking off the season on April 16, the MLS season gets off to a fast start with seven uninterrupted weeks of action, including some of the League’s top regional rivalries, before a break to allow MLS players to feature for national teams during the June FIFA international window. This opening stretch will see ABC, FOX and Univision each broadcast four matches, with an additional 18 matches showcased on the ESPN, FS1, UniMás, and TUDN networks through Memorial Day weekend.
FC Cincinnati will open its West End Stadium, debuting the building with a match against Inter Miami CF on May 16, live on FOX and FOX Deportes. Just one month later, 2021 expansion side Austin FC will celebrate the club’s inaugural home match during the opening of Q2 Stadium, as the team hosts the San Jose Earthquakes live on UniMás and TUDN. Completing three new stadium openings in the first three months of the 2021 MLS schedule, eyes will again turn to Ohio as the reigning MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew SC make the move to New Crew Stadium on July 3. Opening their second soccer-specific stadium in team history, the Crew will host the New England Revolution live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The matchup is a nod to history as Columbus opened the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS in 1999 with a game against the Revolution in the league’s fourth season.
A partner since the league’s inception, the ABC and ESPN networks will showcase five regular season matches over-the-air on ABC this season, the most since 1998. The coverage on ABC kicks off on Sunday, April 18 as Inter Miami CF host David Beckham’s former club, the LA Galaxy, and continues with the first-ever ABC doubleheader on Sunday, May 9, with Inter Miami CF vs. Atlanta United at 1 p.m. ET and Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC at 3 p.m. ET.
In addition to ABC coverage, the ESPN networks will broadcast 27 matches this season while streaming 350 regional broadcasts, out of market, on ESPN+ for fans throughout the U.S.
Among the seven games on FOX is the first match in Austin FC history as they meet 2020 Concacaf Champions League finalist Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday, April 17. On May 8, FOX will broadcast the first installment of 2021 of the El Tráfico rivalry between the LA Galaxy and LAFC. FS1 will have 25 MLS telecasts in 2021, including the home opener of the 2020 MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew SC, as they take on 2020 Supporters’ Shield winners, the Philadelphia Union. FOX Deportes will present 32 games this season.
Univision’s coverage of the 2021 MLS season features at least 25 games – 11 on Univision and 14 on UniMás – with all games simulcast on TUDN. With a robust schedule, Univision networks will bring fans marquee matches including Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United on April 17 (UniMás, TUDN), Austin FC’s landmark home opener at Q2 Stadium against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, June 19 (UniMás, TUDN), as well as the Cali Clasico match, San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy, on Friday, June 26 during a West Coast primetime 10 p.m. ET kickoff on UniMás and TUDN broadcast.
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