The United Soccer League is looking to expand its fanbase through two new media rights deals with SiriusXM and Caribbean broadcaster Flow Sports.
SiriusXM will now add a USL ‘Game of the Week’ to its 24/7 soccer channel SiriusXM FC, which will be broadcast across the U.S. and Canada. It will be the exclusive satellite radio home of the USL Championship and League One, and will air both league finals over the next two seasons.
The deal with Flow Sports, which has a reach into approximately 600,000 homes across 22 countries in the Caribbean, is the USL’s first-ever international television deal.
It was brokered by Sportfive, which is the agency formerly known as Lagardere Sports and Entertainment. USL and Sportfive partnered earlier this year to market USL Championship and League One international broadcast rights.
“We’re showing our fans and stakeholders that the USL is growing at a tremendous rate. We have been selective in pursuing partnerships that elevate our profile within soccer and the larger sports world, domestically and abroad,” said Court Jeske, USL executive vice president. “We’re confident that these ventures will deliver our own distinct brand of soccer — USL Soccer — to audiences.”
In August 2019, USL signed a three-year deal with ESPN for the domestic broadcast rights. While the bulk of Championship and League One matches appear on ESPN+, more have appeared on linear networks this year as the league returned to live play.
That deal is worth a low seven-figures to USL, according to sources.
Jeske said the league will receive a rights fee from Flow Sports, but declined to comment further. He declined to comment on the financial terms of the SiriusXM deal.
“We have two focal points: one is to go deeper with our domestic partner ESPN and the ESPN+ platform. That is where our younger, digitally native fans are consuming our matches. We’re working hard to understand their mindset and deliver a product to serve them,” Jeske said. “The second is to continue to grow our distribution internationally and ensure the global soccer community continually recognizes that the USL is a league on the rise. We are open for business globally for players, coaches, and fans.”
USL was one of the first U.S. leagues to resume play in local markets, eschewing a bubble tournament. It is also playing in front of limited fans in some markets. In an August 17 release, USL said that it administered more than 1,488 tests across its 35 Championship clubs from August 3 to August 10, and 13 individuals tested positive.