ESPN+ gets Bundesliga rights starting in 2020
ESPN+ will be the new home of the Bundesliga in the United States after reaching a multi-year agreement that will begin in August 2020.
The deal will include more than 300 top-flight games each season on ESPN+ and ESPN networks, as well as live streams of the DFL Supercup and relegation playoff matches.
The league has become a go-to destination for young American talent in recent years, boasting the likes of U.S. internationals Weston McKennie (FC Schalke 04), Tyler Adams (RB Lepzig), Zack Steffen, and Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen).
"With a strong connection to the American soccer community, a growing audience in the U.S. and some of the most well-known clubs and players in the world, the addition of the Bundesliga further cements ESPN+ as a must-have for any soccer fan," ESPN+ Executive Vice President and General Manager Russell Wolff said in a statement.
When asked why the league has become so attractive to the brightest young U.S. stars, former USMNT boss and Bundesliga spokesman Jurgen Klinsmann told ESPN: "I think the Bundesliga is a league that traditionally always gives a chance to young players coming through the ranks.
"It's always based on performance. When an American player comes overseas and he performs, he gets a chance to play. There's not much politics involved, the coaches are usually pretty straight forward and so if the kid understands 'it's all down to my performance and I get a chance,' then the Bundesliga is the place to be."
The agreement will also feature rights to highlights which will be available across ESPN programming, on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
Bundesliga International CEO Robert Klein said the partnership is a perfect lead-in to the 2026 World Cup which will be staged in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
"[ESPN] will help us build on the strong connections the Bundesliga has with the U.S. having welcomed more American players than any other European league," he said.
"Germany will continue to be an important source of talent for future US national teams and with ESPN we're incredibly excited to take fans on their journey in the lead up to their home World Cup in 2026."