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Barcelona to air on ABC TV during opening LaLiga weekend

When LaLiga Santander returns for its 91st season on Friday, August 13, ESPN+ will be the exclusive, new home of coverage in the U.S. and content from the league will appear across a combination of ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ABC platforms. Opening weekend will kick off with Valencia CF at home against Getafe CF on Friday, August 13, with a live pre-show at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

On Sunday, August 15, a LaLiga match will air for the first time ever on broadcast television in the U.S. when FC Barcelona hosts Real Sociedad at Camp Nou in Barcelona with live coverage beginning with a 30-minute pregame show at 1:30 p.m. The Spanish-language telecast of the match will be on ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ will stream the English- and Spanish-language presentations of the match.

LaLiga 2021-22 season-opening weekend will cover four days (Friday, Aug. 13 – Monday, Aug. 16) featuring 10 matches streaming live in English and Spanish on ESPN+. In Friday’s opening match, Valencia CF’s new manager José Bordalás will make his debut against former team Getafe CF, which he coached for the past five years. The four matches on Saturday include: CA Osasuna vs. Espanyol (11 a.m.), Cádiz vs. Levante UD and RCD Mallorca vs. Real Betis (1:30 p.m.), and D. Alavés vs. Real Madrid, the kickoff of Carlo Ancelotti’s second spell in charge as Los Blancos, at Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava (coverage begins at 3:30 p.m.).

SEE MORE: ESPN+ FAQ for La Liga: Everything you need to know

On Sunday, August 15, three matches will start with RC Celta vs. LaLiga’s reigning champion Atlético de Madrid (coverage begins at 11 a.m.), FC Barcelona hosting Real Sociedad (coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. live from Camp Nou), and Sevilla FC vs. Rayo Vallecano (4:15 p.m.). Matchday 1 action concludes Monday, August 16, with Villarreal CF vs. Granada CF (2 p.m.), followed by Elche CF vs. Athletic Club (4 p.m.).

A Look at FC Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad, Sun., August 15, 2 p.m., ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, ABC

After losing the league title to Madrid-based teams in the last two seasons and finishing the last one in third place, Barcelona is looking to return to the top in 2021-22 – a title the team last won in the 2018-19 season. Real Sociedad is coming off an excellent 2020-21 season where it finished in fifth place and earned a spot in European competition. The most recent meeting between both clubs was a 6-1 Barcelona win at the Camp Nou on March 21, where Lionel Messi scored two goals and delivered an assist in his record-breaking 768th appearance for Barcelona, who extended their home winning streak in LaLiga against Los Txuri-urdin to 23 games. Real Sociedad is looking for its first league win at Barcelona since 1991.

Comprehensive Surround Programming on ESPN+

Beyond the live matches, ESPN+ will offer a variety of surround programming focused on LaLiga – including match previews, highlights, magazine shows, and more – and will continue to cover LaLiga extensively on signature ESPN+ shows including ESPN FC, Jorge Ramos y su Banda and Fuera de Juego.

ESPN FC, ESPN’s signature soccer program with news, analysis and highlights from around the world seven days a week, will cover LaLiga Santander throughout the season, and ESPN FC’s LaLiga Matchday 1 coverage will include pre- and post-shows for the day’s key matches.

Additional LaLiga coverage on ESPN+ includes comprehensive archive of classic matches, as well as several LaLiga shows including Pre-Season LaLiga, a yearly program dedicated to the upcoming season; LaLiga World, a magazine show available to stream every Tuesday during season featuring highlights from the previous week’s round; LaLiga Show, a weekly program featuring previews for next round every Thursday; and the LaLiga Highlights Show, a Sunday night highlight show recapping the previous round. All surround programming will be available in English and Spanish on ESPN+ at the start of the season.

ESPN’s 20-Day Countdown to LaLiga

As the new LaLiga season nears, ESPN will be counting down by introducing one of LaLiga’s 20 clubs to fans each day leading up to Matchday 1. Starting this Saturday, July 24, every LaLiga club will be featured in a “takeover” day across The Walt Disney Company platforms – each day will showcase the club’s unique stories, traditions, star players, fan bases and rich histories. The 20-day countdown will include custom hype videos, celebrity fan guests and custom social content.

ESPN+ will stream more than 380 matches in English and Spanish during the LaLiga season as part of a historic rights agreement announced earlier this year.

LaLiga Santander, the top division in Spanish soccer, is one of the world’s marquee sports leagues, featuring 20 clubs, including perennial global powers FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla FC, and more. The 2021-22 season will see 17 clubs from the 2020-21 season — D. Alavés, Athletic Club, Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, Cádiz CF, RC Celta Vigo, Elche CF, Getafe CF, Granada CF, Levante UD, CA Osasuna, Real Betis, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Sevilla FC, Valencia CF and Villarreal CF, and Rayo Vallecano, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona and RCD Mallorca, the three clubs promoted from the 2020-21 Segunda División.


La Liga TV schedule

All times Eastern.


Monday, August 15

11:30 am EDT
Athletic Bilbao vs. Mallorca
01:30 pm EDT
Getafe vs. Atlético Madrid
03:30 pm EDT
Real Betis vs. Elche

Friday, August 19

02:00 pm EDT
Espanyol vs. Rayo Vallecano
04:00 pm EDT
Sevilla FC vs. Real Valladolid

Saturday, August 20

11:30 am EDT
Osasuna vs. Cádiz
01:30 pm EDT
Mallorca vs. Real Betis
04:00 pm EDT
Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid

Sunday, August 21

11:30 am EDT
Athletic Bilbao vs. Valencia
01:30 pm EDT
Atlético Madrid vs. Villarreal
04:00 pm EDT
Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona

Monday, August 22

02:00 pm EDT
Elche vs. UD Almería
04:00 pm EDT
Girona vs. Getafe

Friday, August 26

02:00 pm EDT
Girona vs. Celta Vigo
04:00 pm EDT
Real Betis vs. Osasuna

Saturday, August 27

11:30 am EDT
Elche vs. Real Sociedad
01:30 pm EDT
Rayo Vallecano vs. Mallorca
04:00 pm EDT
UD Almería vs. Sevilla FC

Sunday, August 28

11:30 am EDT
Getafe vs. Villarreal
01:30 pm EDT
Barcelona vs. Real Valladolid
04:00 pm EDT
Espanyol vs. Real Madrid

Monday, August 29

02:00 pm EDT
Cádiz vs. Athletic Bilbao
04:00 pm EDT
Valencia vs. Atlético Madrid


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  1. Michael

    July 24, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    @Azer. I totally understand what you are saying, but it is not true. ESPN Deportes is harder to get than beIn Sports currently is. 1. As I said, putting it behind a firewall allows it be easier monetized so they can broadcast more games. 2. Putting Games on ESPN Deportes requires you not only to have a Cable package, but you will also have to have a Spanish add-on. The Cheapest way you can get ESPN Deportes is $41 + tax with Sling Red + Best of Spanish logon or $65 for Fubo TV. That’s just stupid. With every game on ESPN+ all you need is $5.99 (mine is $13,99 with the bundle) and either an antenna or Locast ($5,50/month). That’s it. I don’t have to pay for Cable, I don’t have to pay for Peacock, I don’t have to pay for Paramount+ and I can get a. Every single UCL and Europa game OTA, b. Every single La Liga game, c. Copa Del Rey, d. All of the Bundesliga games, e. I grew up in the great plains, so I can get all of the Tier 3 Big 12 Football, Basketball, and baseball games, f. all the MLS (which I don’t watch), g. tons of MLB & NHL games, h. Several PGA tournaments, and i. Wembelton Tennis. I am only paying $15.00 a month. As for the lost of Serie A, I can’t tell you about that. I never watched Serie A before Ronoldo came unless it was an UCL game. I won’t miss Serie A at all. I can’t speak for all people…but I am excited. The only thing I will miss is the La Liga TV feed for the games. Ray Hudson was cool for the Barca games, but when the mid-tier teams that I didn’t watch as much played I loved the detailed pregame and coverage they gave with La Liga TV. I don’t know if ESPN+ will give us that…but that is not a deal breaker.

  2. Azer

    July 24, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    @dolcem. There is always an upset in football, that’s nothing new. Manchester United will always attract more viewers than Villarreal or any other La Liga club, excluding FC Barcelona & Real Madrid. Besides a few games on Peacock, Manchester United is not hidden behind a paywall, like Villarreal. The Premier League is the number 1 League in the world competing with the Bundesliga for the number 1 spot despite FC Bayern Munchen always winning the title. La Liga is 3rd or 4th, even the Eredivisie is more competitive than La Liga. Lets just be honest about it.

  3. dolcem

    July 24, 2021 at 3:12 pm


    Villarreal, the team that finished seventh in La Liga that just beat the second best team in the EPL, to win the Europa League, isn’t worth watching?

    They don’t speak English, so I guess not for you.

  4. Azer

    July 24, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    @Michael. If ESPN cares so much about it’s Spanish viewers they would show La Liga on ESPN Deportes instead of making them pay for a streaming service when a Spanish TV channel already exists. I’m glad La Liga is easier accessible than before but that’s all. ESPN+ losing Serie A is a big blow to many. Serie A is a much more competitive league, more action than La Liga which is dull to watch.

  5. Ra

    July 24, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    @Michael Completely agree. It is pointless to argue that one is better than the others; it is all a matter of personal preference We are fortunate that there are plentiful options in few services at a very competitive cost. It is much harder and more expensive to follow mainstream American sports.
    @William I don’t mind being the only one to watch a game, as long as it is available. It is easier to follow WW soccer in the US than in countries where it is mainstream as rights get fragmented between many players. I actually prefer it to continue niche rather than going mainstream. I know well both scenarios.
    I have OTA but I don’t use it for soccer. I watch my soccer through either Paramount+ and ESPN+. Paramount+ has Smithsonian, Paw Patrol (popular in my household), Late Night shows and CBS’ news coverage. Disney combo has NatGeo, intl tv shows on hulu, multiple language options, Disney content for the kids. My dislike of Peacock is that being owned by cable (Comcast), they are willing to give you only 2nd rate content (laughable sports coverage for most part- no MotoGP, soccer ex. EPL – no MSNBC coverage, etc.). I can get all Bundesliga, Brasileirao, Champions, La Liga, Serie A – and that is more that I can cope with anyway.

  6. Michael

    July 24, 2021 at 10:49 am

    @Azer. You are looking at things through an Anglo perspective. A very large demographic of soccer viewers we have in this country are Spanish viewers. Disney is not stupid. They paid that much for a reason. There are several Mexican nationals playing in La Liga that are not just in the Big 4 clubs. In addition there are people like me, that could care less about the EPL and follow the entire La Liga year round. They will put El Classico on OTA…duh because that is a National audience. I am not sure if they will put the Madrid Derby or the Sevilla Derby, or the Eastern Andalusia Derby or the Basque Derby for national audience…but those of us who follow the league will definitely be watching it on ESPN+… and now it is much easier to watch it and a replay after the fact. That is one of the reasons that they paid the money for it. It is much easier to monetize behind the paywall than over OTA, so they will make their money back. If you look at Bundesliga, they paid a big upgrade for that package…but the built in fanbase is not as big so they didn’t pay as much….but because they are both of ESPN+ I will (and have) watch(ed) a lot more of Bundesliga because it is in the same place. I love the apple TV split screen. I can watch La Liga, Bundesliga and still not miss any of my college football or MLB afternoon games. This is the best setup ever. EPL will take care of itself and there are plenty of people that care about that. I am just happy that the league that I watch is in the same place with all the other sports I watch.

  7. William Massie

    July 24, 2021 at 1:32 am


    Sorry, pal.

    But media metrics don’t lie, there are only 8 teams that truly move the needle. EPL Big 6 and El Duo del Classico. No one else can be counted upon to deliver big OTA ratings consistently (plus dont count on CBS bumping SEC or NFL coverage for soccer).

  8. locofooty

    July 23, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Yeah, who cares. ESPN only bought out BeIN and signed an 8 year deal with La Liga…but who cares! lmfao

  9. Azer

    July 23, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    Who cares? Honesty. La Liga consists of 4 teams, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, 4 clubs worth watching, that’s it. The only other game in La Liga which is somewhat interesting is the Basque derby between Real Sociedad & Athletic Club Bilbao. I guess you can compare La Liga to the SPL where only 2 teams are in charge. I wonder what the ratings will be, perhaps dead last like the Xidan townhall on CNN.

  10. Michael

    July 23, 2021 at 8:28 am

    I am so pumped that La Liga is on ESPN+!!!I was already getting ESPN+ for my kids to have Disney+, and now I have been able to completely cut the cord. No more Sling, No more Fubo TV and I get about 50 OTA channels in my area, so I can watch all of the UCL and Euorpa league games for free. I don’t really follow the EPL, but if Arsenal happens to be playing on NBC or Telemundo I can catch them too! Not only can a I watch all of my Barca games, but I can go back watch the next week’s opponent on replace. I didn’t have a problem with beIn Sports….but I didn’t like having to pay for a cable package in order to get that one channel. Farca Barca!!!!!

  11. Dstorm

    July 23, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Thanks will give it a listen!

  12. Ronaldo

    July 22, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Who cares?

  13. dstorm

    July 22, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Chris, any word on announcers?

    • Christopher Harris

      July 22, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      We shared a rumor on this week’s pod.

  14. Ra

    July 22, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    @Ivan The problem with OTA TV for me is the lack of quality content. With OTA, the merchandise being sold is you and yes, you are helping several corporations become richer. There is no free lunch.
    I still prefer to pay a modest quantity and not watch any commercials. I value getting Smithsonian from Paramount+ and NatGeo from Disney+/Hulu. The interesting fact is that they make more money in the “cheaper” limited commercials plans than in the commercial-free tiers. This is true for Paramount, Hulu, and Discovery+.

  15. Ivan

    July 22, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    Glad to see ABC will be showing La Liga games here and there. I will be watching whatever is available on free OTA.

    Hopefully CBS will follow suit with Serie A games.

    The weekly PL game on NBC also works.

    One has so many hours each week to devote to watching live football anyways.

    As a cord cutter who isn’t playing the streaming nonsense, if games are offered for free, count me in…if not, oh well…lol. I am not going to volunteer and help yet another corporation get richer. ..

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