Read our guide below about how to watch soccer via ESPN.
ESPN has a long history of broadcasting soccer in the United States. While this is certainly true, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing television rights for different leagues around the globe. The network currently has a plethora of live soccer coverage, but it can be a little confusing to find each competition and game on their channels. We’re here to help with the chaos and let you know where to watch all of the important matches on ESPN.
ESPN’s current soccer rights
The massive sports network currently has the U.S. television rights to significant soccer competitions such as Euro 2020, UEFA Nations League, Championship, League One, League Two, FA Cup, League Cup, International Champions Cup, US Open Cup, Bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, DFL-Supercup, Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, Eredivisie, Danish Superliga, Spain’s Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana, Chinese Super League, Indian Super League, Australian A-League, Sweden’s Allsvenskan, American college soccer, as well as MLS and USL games, and Scottish Premiership.
A majority of the aforementioned leagues and tournaments are exclusively available on ESPN’s streaming service ESPN+. The sports giant does, however, air Euro 2020 plus select MLS, USL, Serie A, Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and college soccer matches on their family of TV networks. Though fairly confusing to figure out at first which channel or streaming service to find particular matches, there are general guidelines.
For instance, all out-of-market MLS/USL matches are on ESPN+. Once or twice a week, ESPN will televise a Serie A game on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNEWS. For the 2020/21 season, only about four Bundesliga games per season will be televised ESPN/ESPN2 (again, usually the bigger clubs) while every game is available on ESPN+. As always, check our homepage prior to matchday to find out exactly where to watch all of these games.
Accessing the ESPN+ streaming service(s) can be done on the ESPN app on Apple, Android, and Amazon Fire devices, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast, Playstation, Xbox, and Oculus Go.
How to watch soccer via ESPN on TV
Accessing ESPN’s television channels means that you will have to pay for a cable/satellite/streaming service. Satellite companies such as DirecTV and DISH Network both offer the ESPN family of sports channels, but with a premium cost (especially after the first year).
The big cable companies also offer comparable deals as satellite, with somewhat similar prices. However, assuming you have solid wifi, a streaming service is normally the most cost-effective option. FuboTV ($55 per month), Hulu + LiveTV ($55 per month), and Sling TV ($30 per month) are some of the most popular streaming offerings.
While the trio has different monthly prices, it is because they all offer different options.
History of soccer via ESPN
Launched in 1979, ESPN originally began as a relatively small network. The channel’s first show, SportsCenter, reached 1.4 million cable subscriber households during its initial broadcast. Thanks to early sponsors Getty Oil and Anheuser-Busch, the company was able to quickly grow despite the fact that no one thought people would watch a 24 hour sports network.
Along with these sponsors, the network’s decision to televise the NFL Draft and acquiring the rights to air the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 1980 proved to be outstanding and historic decisions in the channel’s early stages.
In terms of soccer on ESPN, most Americans probably received their first taste of global soccer on the network. The FIFA World Cup was first televised on ESPN in 1986 and then again from 1994-2014. Prior to Major League Soccer, ESPN first began airing the sport in 1979 with the North American Soccer League. Following the collapse of this league, the network televised Major Indoor Soccer League and National Professional Soccer League matches in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Premier League and UEFA Champions League games were also seen on ESPN in the late ‘90s and well into the 2000s. See the history of the UEFA Champions League on US TV to better understand how important ESPN was to the growth of club soccer in the United States.
Have questions about how to watch soccer via ESPN? Let us know in the comments section below.
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