It’s official — Messi, Barcelona, and the rest of LaLiga are coming to ESPN.
During his company’s Q2 2021 investors call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek confirmed rumored reports that this deal was in the works.
The deal will make ESPN+ the new English- and Spanish-language home for LaLiga’s first and second leagues in the United States for the next eight seasons (through 2028-29). Beginning in August, hundreds of live matches across both leagues will be available each year, exclusively on ESPN+.
ESPN is already the home of Spanish Copa del Rey, Copa de la Reina and Supercopa de España, the German Bundesliga, MLS, England’s FA Cup, EFL and Carabao Cup, Dutch Eredivisie, Scottish Premiership, UEFA National Team Football, USL, and more.
Beyond live matches, ESPN+ will offer a variety of surround programming, including match previews, highlights, magazine shows – and will continue to cover LaLiga extensively on signature ESPN+ shows including “ESPN FC,” “Jorge Ramos y su Banda,” and “Fuera de Juego.”
With the new agreement with ESPN, LaLiga will be free of beIN Sports, its former home that has been bogged down with carrier troubles for years now. The result has been an inability on their part to increase the popularity and awareness of LaLiga among American viewers due to limited distribution. Distribution won’t be an issue in the least bit when it comes to ESPN.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bring LaLiga to ESPN in the U.S.,” said Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga. “This is an historic eight-season agreement in U.S. soccer broadcasting that speaks to the power of LaLiga and its clubs in the largest media market in the world and will bring the world’s best soccer league to American screens in a more comprehensive and modern way than ever before.”
According to ESPN, the rights deal will include the following:
- 380 LaLiga Santander matches per season, featuring all 20 teams in first division soccer in Spain, including performances by top teams FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla FC, and others
- Select matches from LaLiga SmartBank, showcasing Spain’s Segunda División
- Five promotion playoff matches each season
- LaLiga Showand LaLiga World – two weekly, in-season magazine programs
- LaLiga Showpreviews key LaLiga matchups each match week
- LaLiga Worldfeatures highlights, interviews, and classic moments from the previous weekend’s action
- LaLigaSeason Preview and Review – two separate one-hour pre-and post-season programs each year
- El Clásico specials– one-hour programs that showcase the most famous derby in global soccer ahead of the home-and-away regular season FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid matches
- LaLiga Highlights Show, recapping each week’s games; special programs about first division soccer in Spain; a weekly LaLiga SmartBank highlights and magazine show; and more
- Select programming from LaLigaTV – the English-language network devoted to 24/7 coverage of the league
- Access to classic LaLiga matches