LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The USL is set to announce an extension of its broadcast agreement with ESPN through the 2022 season, which means more national exposure for the league and for Louisville City Football Club, the two-time defending league champion.
The new deal extends the current contract through 2022, keeping USL and its two lower-division leagues on ESPN+, available for streaming, with the league championship and some other matches to appear on the ESPN family of channels.
Sources told The Athletic that the new deal enhances the current contract as well as extending it, with ESPN paying the USL a small rights fee, "in the low seven-figure range." Until now, it was believed that the partnership between USL and ESPN involved the league providing its games for free and perhaps sending a small fee ESPN's way, according to The Athletic.
Regardless, the good news for local fans is that the new deal won't interrupt the local media rights partnership between WDRB and WBKI and LouCity. Games will continue to appear live in the Louisville area on those channels.
"We are pleased that our league has not only renewed, but strengthened our partnership with the ESPN family of networks. Our fans like the convenience of streaming games on ESPN+," LouCity president Brad Estes said. "We are also pleased this new three-year extension with ESPN allows us to continue televising our games locally through local partners like WDRB and WBKI."
Howie Lindsey, director of public relations for the club, says it's good news for the league and for fans.
"Extending our partnership with ESPN is key to our league's continued growth," he said. "ESPN has recognized the USL's bright future and tripled the number of national linear broadcasts while still allowing clubs like us to grow our local fan base through local TV partnerships. It's the best of both worlds."
WDRB has been a local media partner of LouCity FC for the past two seasons. In 2020, the club will move into the new 11,000-seat Lynn Family Stadium in Butchertown before next season.
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