Univision will broadcast Leagues Cup games beginning in 2023. It will not, however, do the same for Major League Soccer.
Univision will have linear rights to the package of Leagues Cup games, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald. Featuring Liga MX against Major League Soccer teams battling each other, the Leagues Cup Final appears on Univision. Currently, that is scheduled for August 19. In total, there are 47 teams competing, and that encompasses all of MLS and Liga MX in the competition.
To begin with, Apple acquired the rights to both MLS and Leagues Cup action for 2023 through 2032. The new MLS broadcaster allows fans to watch both English- and Spanish-language coverage on the same platform. Furthermore, Apple’s MLS Season Pass is a paid subscription, so this is quite a departure for MLS compared to the previous FOX, ESPN and Univision deal.
The over-the-air channel Univision, itself, will not carry all the Spanish-language TV games for Leagues Cup. The provider designates some games to UniMás. While UniMás is on cable, UniMás is over-the-air in select cities.
Most expect the Leagues Cup to be a success. The new competition incorporates top teams in the United States, Mexico and Canada, pulling in that wide range of audiences.
Univision in on Leagues Cup, out on MLS
While Univision does have TV broadcasts of the Leagues Cup, it is not going to broadcast Spanish-language MLS games on TV for the first time since 2006. The provider was also the first home of Spanish TV coverage back in 1996 to 1999. Then, it reappeared for MLS in 2007, broadcasting games up through this past season.
Part of the reason Univision is out on MLS is because of the provider’s desire to air games on ViX+, its designated streaming platform. Univision wanted to broadcast games exclusively on ViX+. However, as Apple TV+ has the Spanish-language streaming coverage for all MLS games in the new deal, there is no available audience for ViX+ in that regard. Essentially, it would cannibalize itself by not maximizing potential audiences.
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This comes shortly after ESPN pulled out of broadcasting English-language MLS games on TV, a partnership that lasted the 26-year history of Major League Soccer.
Both Univision and ESPN will not have TV broadcasts of Major League Soccer for the regular season and playoffs.
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