United Soccer League Establishes New Media Group, Plans for New York Office
Veteran broadcast executives Dana Rubin, Michael Cohen to lead league's new media efforts
On Wednesday, the United Soccer League (USL) unveiled its new Broadcast and Media group, which will be led by two veterans in soccer production: Michael Cohen, who who will serve as Executive Vice President and Head of Broadcasting and Media, and longtime producer Dana Rubin, who joins as Vice President of Media.
According to the announcement, this Broadcasting and Media Group will lead the league’s live broadcast and media expansion. Cohen and Rubin will oversee live match production, media partnerships, distribution strategy, and “premium content production,” which includes everything from studio shows to features and docu-series.
The USL is also planning to open a physical office in New York City.
“The USL continues to grow on all levels at a tremendous pace, and as we look to the future, we are intensifying our efforts to differentiate ourselves within the soccer landscape,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in an official press release. “Building a strong presence in New York – the center of commerce and media – is a statement of intent that the USL is more determined than ever to drive our business imperatives with our current partners and future partners that are based in New York.”
Cohen, a multi-Emmy Award winner, brings a wealth of experience in live soccer production. For more than four decades he has filled roles such as Executive Producer at Soccer United Marketing, where he spearheaded coverage of the 2002 and 2006 FIFA Men’s World Cup on ABC and ESPN, and the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Cohen has also produced NBC’s soccer coverage for four Olympic Games and, from 2017-2021, Cohen executive produced NWSL coverage on Lifetime, ESPN, and CBS platforms.
Cohen has previously advised the USL as a consultant, helping close the league’s first two national television and streaming agreements with ESPN and leading the creation of the USL’s innovative production plan. Currently, all USL professional matches across the Championship and League One are broadcast live on ESPN’s family of linear channels or streamed on ESPN+. USL matches are also available in nearly 60 countries and territories worldwide.
“Our country has a tremendous appetite for soccer, and now that we can watch it on any device, anytime, the USL is uniquely positioned to deliver more soccer experiences to more people,” Cohen said in the official release. “This new role with the USL affords me the opportunity to tell stories, build stars, and be part of one of the fastest-growing soccer properties in the world.”
“Michael Cohen’s experience and expertise in soccer broadcasting are outstanding, as are his relationships across the sports industry,” Papadakis said. “Having Michael and a highly respected broadcasting innovator like Dana Rubin on our team will immediately elevate our media business.”
Rubin, an Emmy-winner producer in her own right, will focus on building the media operations for the USL Super League, a new women’s professional league launching in August 2023, as well as work on the USL’s live match production and original premium content.
Rubin has more than 20 years’ experience in the sports television business, including as a producer with Major League Baseball Productions. Most recently, she was the Director of Broadcast and Content for the National Women’s Soccer League, where she oversaw all NWSL broadcasts on the CBS family of networks and Twitch and led the league’s feature development initiatives. During the last two years with the NWSL, Rubin helped drive audience growth more than 200%.
“The USL’s vision for soccer in this country and the infrastructure it has created is second to none,” Rubin said. “I look forward to being part of the team that enhances the media strategy and delivers a best-in-class broadcast experience for the fans.”
“Dana’s work in women’s soccer over the last five years was groundbreaking for the sport,” Cohen said. “Her talent and experience will help drive the vision as we build the USL media business, in general, and the Super League media plan, in particular.”