CBS, the major US network owned by media giant Paramount, has agreed a new broadcast rights deal with the United Soccer League (USL), the organizer of the second and third-tier domestic competitions, from the start of the 2024 season.
Through a multi-year agreement, the second-tier USL Championship and third-tier League One will be shown on CBS Sports through 2027. The deal will see USL matches broadcast on network TV for the first time in the league’s history.
CBS replaces ESPN, which had been the USL’s exclusive national media rights partner for the past eight seasons.
All USL games were shown on the ESPN+ streaming platform with select games, including the championship game, available on ESPN2. However, no games were shown on the ABC sister network.
As part of the agreement with CBS, 100 matches will air across its platforms annually, including CBS Television Network, the Paramount+ streaming service, CBS Sports Network, and CBS Sports Golazo Network.
The USL Championship final will be broadcast on CBS Television Network and simulcast on Paramount+, while more than 20 matches will air on CBS Sports Network and 75 will be broadcast on the Golazo Network.
How well do you really know your competitors?
Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.
Your download email will arrive shortly
Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample
We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below formBy GlobalData
In addition, the USL Championship and League One will also be covered across CBS' other platforms, including Golazo Network programming like Morning Footy and Box to Box, as well as the Golazo Starting XI newsletter.
With the top-tier MLS shifting to a streaming-only model through its lucrative deal with the Apple TV+ platform, CBS will be the only broadcaster to show live domestic men's soccer on linear television.
Dan Weinberg, CBS Sports executive vice president of programming, said: "The United Soccer League – with its expansive and growing presence across the country – is an excellent addition to CBS Sports' premium soccer portfolio.
"We look forward to making the exciting action of the USL more easily available to fans than ever before and elevating the league with coverage across our CBS Sports platforms."
The 2023 USL Championship season will conclude on Sunday (November 12) as Charleston Battery and the Phoenix Rising meet in the championship game, while the League One campaign ended last Sunday with North Carolina FC's championship win.
The USL agreement bolsters CBS’ soccer offering which includes European soccer’s elite UEFA Champions League club competition, Italy’s Serie A, and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
CBS is also reportedly set to agree a renewed deal for the NWSL but share rights with ESPN, Amazon, and Scripps.