ESPN has crossed the finish line and renewed its deal with the English Football League to continue broadcasting the Championship, League One, League Two and League Cup for two more seasons to viewers in the United States.

As first reported in July by World Soccer Talk, our sources revealed that ESPN had been close to signing the deal for a few weeks. Thankfully, the agreements have been signed just after the beginning of the new season.

It’ll ensure that coverage will continue each week for the English Championship, as well as the League Cup (which begins today on ESPN+). Select games from England’s League One and League Two are shown on ESPN+ from time to time, too.

In total, the coverage will include 147 regular-season Championship matches, which is an increase from 125 last season. As part of the agreement, ESPN+ will be the exclusive U.S. media home for the League Cup featuring 30 matches across the competition: 25 matches in Rounds One to Five, four home-and-away Semi-Finals and the Wembley Final.

ESPN+ will also livestream three EFL Trophy (Papa Johns Trophy) matches – two Semi-Finals and Final – in the knockout competition for the 48 EFL League One and League Two clubs and, 16 Premier League U21 sides.

Interest in English Championship is growing

With several Americans playing in the Championship including Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Luton), Daryl Dike (West Brom), among others, the interest in the league is growing in the United States.

In popularity, the Championship is the tenth most attended league in the world. It also boasts the richest game in soccer annually due to the Championship playoff winner netting an estimated $125 million in TV revenue.

With twenty four clubs competing to try to get promoted to the English Premier League, the division is considered one of the most competitive leagues in the world. This season, some of the big clubs in the league include Sunderland, Watford, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United, Burnley and Norwich.

ESPN renews English Football League rights: What’s next?

Although the rights deal between ESPN and the English Football League ended at the close of the 2021/22 season, ESPN was given permission to continue showing games at the beginning of the 2022/23 season as negotiations continued. In doing so,
ESPN2 was able to televise the opening game of the new season in late July between Huddersfield Town and Burnley. It was the first Championship game ever to be televised on ESPN television networks.

Now that the deal has been signed, ESPN can focus on other rights negotiations. According to World Soccer Talk sources, that includes the Dutch Eredivisie. Fans of Dutch football were disappointed to miss the opening of the 2022/23 season. Hopefully a deal can be signed soon so that coverage can resume.

More soccer rights

Earlier this week, ESPN reached a multi-year extension with the Royal Spanish Football Federation for exclusive U.S. media rights to Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España, Spain’s top two soccer cup competitions.

The agreement brings all 65 Copa del Rey matches each season exclusively to ESPN+, in both English and Spanish. All matches will be available in English, with more than 30 matches per season streaming in Spanish as well.

The Supercopa de España (Spanish Super Cup) semifinals and final will be carried live in English and Spanish on ESPN networks (ESPN / ESPN 2 / ESPN Deportes) and ESPN+.