TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League (USL) and ESPN announced today the full schedule for the USL Game of the Week. Six games will air on national television during the summer, with an additional 14 games to stream digitally on ESPN3. The announcement follows the groundbreaking partnership between the two organizations that brings the thrill and excitement of the USL to the innovative ESPN+ platform alongside other major soccer properties like the UEFA Nations League, the English Football League and Major League Soccer.
Nineteen teams from across the league will feature on national broadcasts, including two former league champions, 10 2017 USL Cup Playoff teams, and four of the league’s newest arrivals for the 2018 season.
“The excitement of our league is built around heated regional rivalries fueled by the sport’s most passionate fans. We are thrilled to bring that excitement to the national spotlight this season, including some great primetime matchups that offer a glimpse at potential USL Cup Playoffs matchups later this season,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “The increase in USL matches available to a national audience this year is part of our partnership with ESPN, which includes launching our new home on the innovative ESPN+ platform, a move that will raise the prominence of the USL and its clubs to a higher level alongside great domestic and international competitions. This expanded partnership is a testament to the significant investments into the sport by the league and its clubs, and our collective commitment to delivering the best experience to our fans either at the stadium or at home.”
ESPNews will serve as the home for five of the USL’s six linear broadcasts in 2018, with a clash between newcomers Nashville SC and Indy Eleven at First Tennessee Park on Tuesday, June 26 set to lead off the run of six consecutive games broadcast over the air during the summer months. Other games to feature in that span include a visit to Nippert Stadium when FC Cincinnati hosts the Charlotte Independence on Wednesday, July 18, and a meeting between San Antonio FC and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Toyota Field on Wednesday, July 25.
Indy Eleven will also feature on the Fourth of July as it plays host to Ottawa Fury FC at Lucas Oil Stadium, while the run of six games will conclude with a trip to Al Lang Stadium as the Tampa Bay Rowdies play host to the Charleston Battery on Wednesday, August 8.
The USL Game of the Week package will kick off on ESPN3 later this month as Sacramento Republic FC welcomes Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC to Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday, April 18. Three weeks later fans will head slightly south to see newcomer Fresno FC as it takes on Rio Grande Valley FC at Chukchansi Park on Wednesday, May 9, while later in the season we’ll pay a first visit to Real Monarchs SLC’s new home at Zions Bank Stadium when the defending USL Regular Season champions host Saint Louis FC. The season wraps up on Wednesday, October 10 when Las Vegas Lights FC plays host to Phoenix Rising FC in the final week of the 2018 regular season.
In addition to the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3, ESPNews and ESPNU, the league’s regular-season contests will be available in the United States through ESPN+ after its launch on April 12, where the league will reside alongside Major League Soccer, the English Football League and UEFA Nations League on the new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer and International group in partnership with ESPN.
Games will be produced by USL Productions, the league’s state-of-the-art broadcast production, broadcast and distribution facilities with VISTA Worldlink in south Florida. Now in its second season, USL Productions produces and distributes more than 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners and local affiliates. The USL Match Center will also up-to-the-minute match statistics provided by industry leader Opta.
April 18 – Sacramento Republic FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (ESPN3)
April 27 – Las Vegas Lights FC vs. San Antonio FC (ESPN3)
May 2 – Indy Eleven vs. FC Cincinnati (ESPN3)
May 9 – Fresno FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (ESPN3)
May 30 – Saint Louis FC vs. Phoenix Rising FC (ESPN3)
June 13 – FC Cincinnati vs. Bethlehem Steel FC (ESPN3)
June 26 – Nashville SC vs. Indy Eleven (ESPNews)
July 4 – Indy Eleven vs. Ottawa Fury FC (ESPNews)
July 11 – OKC Energy FC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC (ESPNews)
July 18 – FC Cincinnati vs. Charlotte Independence (ESPNews)
July 25 – San Antonio FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (ESPNU)
August 8 – Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Charleston Battery (ESPNews)
August 15 – Saint Louis FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC (ESPN3)
August 22 – Phoenix Rising FC vs. San Antonio FC (ESPN3)
August 29 – Rio Grande Valley FC vs. San Antonio FC (ESPN3)
September 5 – Phoenix Rising FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (ESPN3)
September 12 – Real Monarchs SLC vs. Saint Louis FC (ESPN3)
September 18 – Nashville SC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (ESPN3)
September 26 – Richmond Kickers vs. FC Cincinnati (ESPN3)
October 10 – Las Vegas Lights FC vs. Phoenix Rising FC (ESPN3)