Sources: Current U.S. Soccer Rights-Holders ESPN and Fox Sports Not the Favorites in Bidding for Next English-Language Contract
CBS Sports, Turner Sports and Amazon Are More Likely Destinations At This Point
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U.S. Soccer’s current English-language rights-holders, ESPN and Fox Sports, are not the favorites to land the next contract for the federation starting in 2023, sources told Fútbol with Grant Wahl. U.S. Soccer wants to choose one English-language outlet instead of two moving forward, and the favorites at this point include CBS Sports, Turner Sports and Amazon, the sources added.
A final decision on the new rights-holders is expected in the next 30 to 60 days. U.S. Soccer’s current Spanish-language rights-holder, Univision, is very much in play to retain those rights.
The next contract for the U.S. Soccer rights, which include the USMNT and USWNT, is different from the current one in some significant ways. For starters, the U.S. rights will no longer be bundled with the rights for Major League Soccer, as they have been for the 2015-22 rights period. U.S. Soccer already announced that it will not continue its business relationship with Soccer United Marketing, which is owned by the MLS owners, beyond the current deal.
What’s more, there will be no World Cup qualifiers for the USMNT ahead of World Cup 2026, which the U.S. is co-hosting with Mexico and Canada, since the U.S. will have an automatic berth. That means the next contract will have fewer high-profile games in it.
CBS Sports has become a major player in the soccer space over the past 18 months, buying the U.S. rights for the UEFA Champions League, Italy’s Serie A, the USMNT away World Cup qualifiers, the NWSL, the CONCACAF and Asian World Cup qualifiers and the Brazilian and Argentine leagues.
The interest from Turner Sports in the U.S. Soccer rights is a bit of a surprise after Turner got out of its UEFA Champions League deal a year early and had lukewarm reviews for its production. As for Amazon, it represents an intriguing option after years of speculation on whether the corporate giant would jump more deeply into acquiring live sports rights.
Fox Sports has the U.S. English-language World Cup rights through 2026, but it has lost several soccer packages in recent years, including the UEFA Champions League, the German Bundesliga and the English Premier League.
Which company would you like to see get the English-language TV rights for U.S. Soccer matches and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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