- Current English-language rights holders ESPN and Fox are not the favorites, according to Fútbol with Grant Wahl
- Spanish-language rights holder Univision ‘in play’ to sign new agreement
- US Soccer confirmed in May that it will end its sales partnership with SUM
US Soccer seeks to make a broadcaster the sole English rights holder for national team games in the next cycle starting in 2023, according to the Fútbol with Grant Wahl bulletin.
ESPN and Fox currently hold the English rights in the country for the games of the US men’s and women’s national teams, but CBS Sports, Turner Sports and Amazon are all reportedly in the process of partnering with US Soccer for the next round.
The report adds that a final decision is expected within the next 30-60 days, with ESPN and Fox not being the favorites. Univision, the current holder of the Spanish-language rights to US Soccer, is also said to be “very much at stake” to sign a new deal.
US Soccer’s announced decision to bundle the English rights to its two senior national teams is significant as the package will no longer be associated with the rights to Major League Soccer (MLS), the elite national men’s soccer competition.
It was announced in May that US Soccer would bring its commercial rights operations in-house starting in late 2022, severing its ties with Soccer United Marketing (SUM) after a nearly two-decade collaboration.
US Soccer’s decision was primarily to resolve a perceived conflict of interest between the national governing body and MLS. Two lawsuits filed against US Soccer said its relationship with SUM was anti-competitive.
It was not stated how much US Soccer is looking for for its next broadcast deal starting in 2023. SUM had guaranteed the organization $ 300 million during the partnership. However, US Soccer believes it may charge higher rights fees when negotiating its own media and commercial deals.
One potential factor that could drive the price down is the guaranteed participation of the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) in the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which the United States is co-hosting with Canada and Mexico. . With participation already assured thanks to the hosting functions, and therefore no World Cup qualifying matches to play, there will be fewer top-level matches in the next rights cycle.
If CBS were to strike a deal, it would add to the network’s American football rights portfolio that includes the USMNT World Cup qualifiers, the National Women’s Football League (NWSL) and the Uefa Champions League.
Turner Sports’ reported interest comes as a surprise given he withdrew from his rights partnership with UEFA for the Champions League and Europa League in June 2020, ending his $ 60million contract. dollars per year 12 months in advance.
Amazon, meanwhile, has made inroads into the live football rights space, most notably with its UK deal for the Premier League. In March, the company’s Prime Video streaming service also got the very first all-digital National Football League (NFL) package, becoming the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football.