Sources tell World Soccer Talk that the Soccer Champions Tour has found a home on ESPN networks this summer.
The 2023 tournament features a slew of friendlies involving many of the top teams in Europe. For example, Manchester United, Arsenal, AC Milan and Juventus. Also, Barcelona and Real Madrid play out their third Clásico in the United States. The Spanish giants also play games against those aforementioned European powers.
Channel details include many of the games appearing on ESPN+ as well as ESPN Deportes. Barcelona and Real Madrid fans are well-accustomed to ESPN’s channels, as that is the home of LaLiga. Of course, last summer, the Clásico friendly in Las Vegas aired on FS2.
Even though the games are in the United States, ESPN acquiring the rights is welcome news for those interested in watching from home. Some of the world’s greatest players will play in these friendlies later this month. That likely includes preseason debuts for new signings such as Christian Pulisic at AC Milan, Mason Mount at Manchester United, Jude Bellingham at Real Madrid and/or Declan Rice at Arsenal.
Soccer Champions Tour on ESPN provides plenty of options
In total, there are eight games in the Soccer Champions Tour on ESPN. As of press time, among the live games from the Soccer Champions Tour on TV and streaming, they include:
- Barcelona vs Juventus (Saturday, July 22 – 10:30 p.m. ET), ESPN+
- Real Madrid vs Milan (Sunday, July 23 – 10 p.m. ET), ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes
- Real Madrid vs Man United (Wednesday, July 26 – 8:30 p.m. ET), ESPN+
- Arsenal vs Barcelona (Wednesday, July 26 – 10:30 p.m. ET), ESPN+
- Barcelona vs Real Madrid (Saturday, July 29 – 5 p.m. ET), ESPN+
- Milan vs Barcelona (Tuesday, Aug. 1 – 11 p.m. ET), ESPN and ESPN Deportes
Each of these teams has a strong following in the United States, and they will pull in audiences for ESPN’s coverage of the friendlies. However, the Soccer Champions Tour on ESPN does create some challenges for some of the other games happening at the same time in the United States.
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Soccer Champions Tour faces plenty of competition
For example, the Leagues Cup faces stiff competition from many of these games involving European giants. Lionel Messi’s impending debut with Inter Miami against Cruz Azul should not be affected. However, on July 29’s Clásico in Arlington, TX, there are Leagues Cup matches in both Atlanta and Austin. Those games may struggle to pull in the audiences. Worse off for the Leagues Cup, those games are airing only on MLS Season Pass, while the Clásico airs on ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes.
Then, there are other club friendlies going on during the same dates. The Premier League Summer Series has games on the same dates as Arsenal-Barcelona and Manchester United-Real Madrid. Premier League Summer Series games are mostly exclusive to streaming on Peacock. However, select games are on USA Network or NBC.
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