ESPN Secures La Liga Soccer League TV Rights

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La Liga soccer will return to ESPN as the network announced a new long-term deal with Spain’s La Liga soccer league. 

The eight-year deal calls for all 380 La Liga league matches per season to air across ESPN, ESPN Plus, ABC and ESPN Deportes in both English and Spanish beginning in August, according to network officials. The games currently air on beIN Sports. 

La Liga content is no stranger to ESPN: ESPN Deportes aired La Liga games as late as 2012.

ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a conference call Friday to announce the deal that the agreement helps solidify streaming service ESPN Plus’ appeal to soccer fans. Along with streaming all 380 La Liga league games, ESPN Plus also offers soccer action from such leagues as Major League Soccer, German Bundesliga, Copa del Rey, and English Football League.  

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The service will also feature shoulder La Liga programming -- including magazine shows, weekly and season previews and highlight specials -- in both English and Spanish. 

“La Liga is one of the best and most popular sports leagues in the world,” Pitaro said. “We’ve been very focused on growing our Spanish language content offerings … and La Liga will play a big part in that going forward.” 

ESPN EVP of programming and original content Burke Magnus added that the network will continue to look to acquire national and international soccer content going forward. “We’re always on the hunt for premium content that adds vale, so we’ll take them as they come,” he said. “For today, we couldn’t be more excited to get perhaps the best league in the world for the next eight years.” 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.