Between the USL Championship and USL League One, there will be 620 live matches during the 2023 season, all of which are available on ESPN and its platforms. Note that this does not mean ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. Instead, the vast majority of these games are available on ESPN+, the paid streaming platform from ESPN. However, ESPN is going to air an impressive total of nine USL games on ESPN2 this season.
This is the eighth season ESPN has coverage of the second and third tiers of soccer in the United States. In the past, select games went on certain channels, with the majority on streaming platforms. This year is consistent with that trend.
In the 2023 campaign, there will be nine games broadcast on ESPN2 from USL Championship and League One. Granted, the only League One game airing on ESPN2 is the USL League One Championship Game on Nov. 5.
Still, that leaves eight games from the USL Championship airing on ESPN2. That does include the USL Championship title game a week after the USL League One title decider on Nov. 12.
The seven regular season games on ESPN2 are as follows:
- May 13 — Louisville City FC vs. Miami FC.
- July 1 — Phoenix Rising FC vs. Memphis 901 FC.
- July 15 — Monterey Bay F.C. vs. Oakland Roots SC.
- July 19 — Detroit City FC vs. Louisville City SC.
- Aug. 9 — Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. FC Tulsa.
- Aug. 16 — San Antonio FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC.
- Aug. 19 — San Diego Loyal SC vs. New Mexico United.
ESPN deal could help USL Championship and League One grow
USL trailed Major League Soccer in terms of popularity. That is not necessarily a surprise, as MLS is the top division, and USL Championship and League One are second and third, respectively.
USL on ESPN+
Includes: Bundesliga, LaLiga, USL Championship & more
With Apple and Major League Soccer striking a deal that puts the league almost exclusively on streaming, some of the more casual fans may not be watching MLS Season Pass. Those that tuned in to MLS games when they aired on ESPN’s or FOX’s channels could avoid the $14.99 monthly subscription to watch MLS.
However, those same fans may already have ESPN+ to watch various soccer leagues in Europe or other sports domestically. Therefore, ESPN+ airing every game in these two leagues could be a chance for soccer fans to get more interested. There is a variety of teams across the country competing. And, users only have to pay $9.99 per month to watch most games. Additionally, they get access to a significantly higher quantity of content than what MLS Season Pass offers.