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How USL’s Major Broadcast Deals Elevate LouCity to the National Spotlight

In case you missed it last week, the landscape of soccer broadcasting in the U.S. just took a massive leap forward, bringing the thrill of the game into your living rooms with unprecedented access. The USL’s latest deal with ESPN is a game-changer, especially for Louisville City FC, as it paves the way to shine on the national stage.

With the ink now dry on the USL’s multiyear broadcasting agreement renewal with ESPN and the addition of the CBS Sports rights agreement, we’re looking at a record 35 nationally televised matches for the USL Championship and USL League One in 2024. That’s nearly four times what we had in 2023! This surge in coverage includes a landmark broadcast on “big” CBS, marking the first time a USL game will be aired on over-the-air network television. Circle April 6 on your calendars, folks, because that’s when Louisville City will host Indy Eleven at 4:00 PM ET in what promises to be a historic match for the league and its fans. This will not be a match to miss in the stadium or on TV if you can’t make it to Lynn Family Stadium. 

But the excitement doesn’t stop there. The national broadcast schedule is packed with must-watch games, including a USL Championship Final rematch and a series of matchups that are sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats. For Louisville City FC, this means more eyes on their games, more fans in the stands, and an incredible opportunity to showcase their talent and passion for soccer.

Louisville City FC, in particular, is set to make waves with five appearances on national television, including their network TV debut. The team’s presence on these broadcasts not only boosts their profile but also brings the excitement of local soccer to a nationwide audience, creating new fans and fueling the growing soccer culture in the U.S.

For the fans, this means more opportunities to watch their favorite teams battle it out on the big stage. Local broadcast deals will continue to cover games not picked up nationally, ensuring that die-hard supporters won’t miss a beat of the action. And with the USL’s commitment to making soccer more accessible, it’s never been easier to follow the journey of your local heroes as they vie for glory on the national stage.

While the renewed broadcasting agreement with ESPN and the new partnership with CBS Sports mark significant strides in bringing USL soccer to a broader audience, it’s clear that there’s still room for growth. The selection of 35 nationally televised matches, though a record for the league, represents just a fraction of the total games played throughout the season. This limited selection underscores the potential for networks to boost the USL’s visibility further by dedicating more airtime to this rapidly growing league.

Moreover, in an era where streaming services are increasingly becoming the go-to source for entertainment, the USL had an opportunity to explore partnerships beyond traditional broadcasting. Speaking of consumption habits, it’s essential to recognize that the typical USL soccer fan is increasingly likely to forgo traditional cable in favor of various streaming services. Data from the USL suggests that soccer enthusiasts, particularly in the USL demographic, are tech-savvy and prefer the convenience and flexibility of streaming platforms. This shift in viewer preferences underscores the potential benefits of the USL securing a streaming partner, as it would align with the evolving media consumption trends of its fan base. By tapping into the streaming market, the USL could significantly expand its reach, offering fans more ways to watch and engage with the league, ultimately fostering a stronger connection with the sport they love.

For example, if the USL were to follow in the footsteps of Major League Soccer’s groundbreaking deal with Apple, the USL could significantly benefit from aligning with streaming giants like Netflix or Amazon. Such a partnership would not only increase the league’s reach but also tap into a younger, tech-savvy audience that prefers streaming content on demand.

By expanding its broadcasting and streaming portfolio, the USL could unlock new levels of exposure and engagement, helping to elevate the league’s profile and foster a deeper connection with soccer fans across the nation and beyond. As the league continues to grow in popularity and competitiveness, embracing these opportunities could be key to shaping the future of soccer in the United States, ensuring that every thrilling match and unforgettable moment reaches the widest audience possible.

While the increased number of nationally televised games is a significant step forward for the USL, it’s worth noting that this still represents a limited selection of the league’s full slate of matches. With hundreds of games throughout the season, there’s a vast untapped potential for more extensive coverage that could further elevate the league’s profile. Networks have the opportunity to deepen their commitment to the USL, offering fans more chances to catch their favorite teams in action on the national stage. Alternatively, the USL should explore partnerships with streaming goliaths like Netflix or Amazon, mirroring Major League Soccer’s innovative deal with Apple. Such a move could revolutionize how fans engage with the league, providing more accessible and flexible viewing options that align with modern consumption habits.

The anticipation is palpable as we gear up for the 2024 season, which kicks off on March 9 for the USL Championship. The expanded broadcast schedule is a testament to soccer’s growing popularity and quality in the U.S., and it’s a big win for teams like Lexington Sporting Club and Louisville City FC. 

So, whether you’re a long-time supporter or new to the world of soccer, this season promises to deliver all the drama, excitement, and heart-pounding action you could ask for. Get ready to cheer on our teams, experience the beautiful game like never before, and be part of a landmark year for soccer in the United States.

Make sure to stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of Louisville City, Lexington Sporting Club, and everything soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth. 

Author

  • Jimmie Martin

    Jimmie Martin is a charismatic soccer podcast host from Kentucky who passionately advocates for Promotion and Relegation in US Soccer. With infectious enthusiasm and a lighthearted sense of humor, he engages fellow enthusiasts on the Bluegrass Soccer Cast. Jimmie's goal is to promote the growth of soccer in the US while entertaining and educating his audience.

How USL’s Major Broadcast Deals Elevate LouCity to the National Spotlight

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