Disney-owned US sports broadcast giant ESPN has agreed a four-year extension with English soccer’s Football Association (FA) governing body to broadcast its annual FA Cup knockout competition in the US.

ESPN has been the FA Cup’s exclusive home in the US since the start of the 2018-19 season and will continue to do so through the end of 2027-28, showing 79 games from the competition each year from the first round through to the final, as well as the season-opening FA Community Shield.

Currently title sponsored by UAE airline giant Emirates, the FA Cup’s rights were brokered by global sports agency IMG, which is the competition’s rightsholder in the US.

The matches will be produced by the FA for global streaming and shown on the ESPN+ streaming service.

Speaking on the renewal, FA commercial director James Gray stated: “It’s an exciting time for soccer in the US, with the game’s growth evident for all to see, and the FIFA World Cup in North America on the horizon.”

The FA Cup will continue alongside the top-tier knockout cups of Germany (DFB Pokal) and Spain (Copa del Rey) on ESPN+ in the US, with all three countries looking to leverage the burgeoning US soccer market ahead of a major revenue-driving event (the quadrennial FIFA World Cup) which will take place across the country in 2026 and has the potential to balloon rights values in the market depending on their own nations’ performances.

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ESPN+ content may still find a new home on the upcoming joint-venture streaming service announced by Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox Corp, titled Venu Sports.

Venu Sports, pronounced venue, will combine the sports streaming property portfolios of the three major broadcasters and control over 50% of live sports broadcasts in the US regionally and nationally.

The service is eyeing a launch in the latter half of 2024 in a wholly new app that will come with the potential to bundle it with the Disney+ service, Fox’s Hulu, or WBD’s Max streaming services.

Upon launch, it has the potential to grow audiences for ESPN content beyond traditional ESPN subscribers, putting further eyes on the FA Cup in the US.

In the UK meanwhile, the FA Cup recently agreed a new pay-TV deal with WBD-owned TNT Sports through 2029, a deal that has now added free-to-air coverage courtesy of a sub-licensing agreement with UK public-service broadcaster BBC.