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ESPN renews English Football League rights deal

ESPN renews English Football League rights

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+.

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  1. Sean+Johansen

    August 11, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Doesn’t seem to cover Stoke City games.

  2. UnitedFan 3478

    August 9, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    Why does this have to be confusing

    If ESPN+ can have the whole German and Spanish package, and Paramount+ can have the whole Italian package, why can’t NBC have the whole English package? If NBC got the EFL, it would be so much more convenient.
    Someone please explain to me why NBC didn’t win the rights.

    • SteveK

      August 9, 2022 at 8:58 pm

      Because NBC didn’t try for the rights. The clusterf-ck of iFollow means no one with any sense would be interested and anyway EFL would dilute the brand. As it is the best of the EFL yo-yo clubs are happy to pocket the parachute payments and that dilutes the brand, with a Brentford or Sheffield United the occasional exception.

  3. jstrummer

    August 9, 2022 at 8:29 pm

    One year or multi-year deal?

    • cmasia

      August 9, 2022 at 8:37 pm

      From the ESPN Press release:

      “ESPN+ has reached an exclusive, multi-year extension in the United States for exclusive media rights to the English Football League (EFL) and the Carabao Cup.”

      The exact number of years is not included in the release.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 10, 2022 at 8:06 am

      The first paragraph of the article mentions the two-season deal.

  4. cmasia

    August 9, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    ESPN+ carried 2 Carabao Cup matches live today……. and replays ARE already available for both.

  5. Michal

    August 9, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Ok, people are scaring me now. I watch championship replays Saturday after watching the EPL. You’re saying this is not possible anymore?

  6. Tim H

    August 9, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    The bad news, apparently, is that the new agreement doesn’t allow ESPN+ to show Championship match replays, which is terrible for me because many of the games are live here extremely early in the morning. Unless they can fix that, I’m probably going to cancel my subscription.

  7. John Ketcham

    August 9, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    Will this contract included English language replays? In the first two match days the replays have been spotty at best

    • Tim H

      August 9, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      I went around and around about the Championship match replays with an ESPN customer rep last weekend and she told me the agreement doesn’t allow for it (except in Spanish, apparently). I wrote to the EFL and got a reply today that, in essence, said that if you’re not happy about it, talk to ESPN.

      • John Ketcham

        August 9, 2022 at 4:15 pm

        I got a similar comment from an ESPN+ rep and I’m hoping since that was before the final deal was signed they changed their minds on the replays. It’s a bit of a loser contract without replays. I did tell them that it’s a bad idea to have no replays especially considering the recent price hike. Maybe enough of us will complain and it will go back. Sadly if this stays I think it’s a club decision to withhold the replays to drive up subs for their services like iFollow

  8. Rob

    August 9, 2022 at 11:31 am

    I asked a few years ago and I’ll ask again…is there a comprehensive weekly highlight show for Championship matches? I love the coverage of the Bundesliga and the weekly highlight and preview shows. I am hoping ESPN+ will put out something similar for the Championship. I know we can’t watch every game every week but a highlight show would only help grow the second division.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 9, 2022 at 11:44 am

      Here’s what ESPN says:

      ESPN+ will be the exclusive home for EFL highlights programs across the Championship, League One, League Two and the Carabao Cup competitions.

  9. Lou Bruno

    August 9, 2022 at 11:05 am

    I for one have been watching the ESPN service increasingly over the last two season. Watching the EFL brings me back to the early days of watching the EPL over 20 years ago.

    • jason

      August 9, 2022 at 2:14 pm

      Now that I think about it that is a great point. The low key not over the top production of EFL games is similar to Premier League games when they were on Fox Sports World/Fox Soccer Channel in the 2000s

      • Lou Bruno

        August 9, 2022 at 8:11 pm

        It has that feel and that you are watching something that is under the radar.

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