ESPN+ To Become U.S. Distributor of Bundesliga in August 2020
ESPN+ will be the new U.S. home for the Bundesliga, Germany’s top domestic soccer league, as the result of a new multi-year agreement that will begin in August 2020.
ESPN+ will feature exclusive live and on-demand replay coverage of more than 300 matches per season from the Bundesliga, in both English and Spanish languages. In addition, the long-term agreement includes live coverage of the season-kickoff DFL Supercup, rights to Bundesliga 2 matches and on-demand surround programming such as highlights and magazine shows.
ESPN linear television networks will also feature select Bundesliga matches each season and highlights will be available in ESPN programs and on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
“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,” says Russell Wolf, Executive Vice President and General Manager, ESPN+.
“It was clear from the start that ESPN and ESPN+ shared our ambitious vision. As innovators in the sports industry, we’re both driven to deliver highly engaging content for fans. They 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,” says Bundesliga International CEO, Robert Klein. “They’re attracted by the authentic, entertaining soccer we describe as ‘Football As It’s Meant To Be’, played in front of the largest spectator numbers in the sport and epitomized by the highest goals per game average of all top European leagues. 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.”
“We’re thrilled to reach this kind of multi-year agreement to bring one of the world’s most passion-filled and exciting soccer leagues to the most innovative sport service in the U.S. Like ESPN, the Bundesliga has embraced technology, putting the fan at the heart of all they do by consistently delivering world-class content,” says Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President, Programming, ESPN.
The Bundesliga joins an extensive lineup of soccer on ESPN+ that features over 2,000 top soccer matches per year from around the world, including exclusive coverage in the U.S. of Italy’s Serie A, the UEFA Nations League, England’s FA Cup, and EFL, MLS, the Dutch Eredivisie and more.
Known for its stadium atmosphere, high-quality play, storied rivalries, and goal-scoring pace, Bundesliga is among the world’s top domestic leagues. Beginning its 58th season in August 2020, Bundesliga averaged 3.2 goals per game last season – top among the major European leagues. Plus, with an average attendance of more than 43,000 per game between 2013 and 2018, the Bundesliga has the highest average attendance of any major soccer league in the world (according to CIES Football Observatory). Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park Stadium has the largest average attendance of any team in Europe with 80,000 per match.
Bundesliga is also home to some of the biggest rivalries in world soccer, led by Der Klassiker (The Classic) between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München. Other Bundesliga rivalries include the Revierderby (FC Schalke 04 versus Borussia Dortmund), the Rhine Derby (FC Köln versus Borussia Mönchengladbach), and the Berlin Derby (Union Berlin versus Hertha Berlin).
Almost half of all Bundesliga players currently represent their national teams, with numerous World Cup winners amongst the current squads. Some of the global superstars playing each week in Bundesliga include Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho, Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, France’s Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez and Corentin Tolisso (all FC Bayern München), England’s Jadon Sancho, Spain’s Paco Alcácer, Belgium’s Axel Witsel, Germany’s Marco Reus, Mario Götze and Julian Brandt (all Borussia Dortmund), Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München) and Timo Werner (RB Leipzig).
Historically, the Bundesliga has featured many American players, with more than 50 Americans competing in the German top flight since 1986. Currently, 11 American players call Bundesliga clubs home — the most in any of the top European leagues. They include Weston McKennie (FC Schalke 04), Tyler Adams (RB Lepzig), Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), John Brooks (VfL Wolfsburg), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Khiry Shelton (SC Paderborn), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), and Brady Scott (1. FC Köln).