79 matches per season to be streamed on ESPN+, including the Community Shield and FA Cup Final
ESPN+ has reached an exclusive, multi-year rights agreement in the United States for the Emirates FA Cup, the oldest and longest-running domestic cup competition in soccer. The agreement will bring 79 FA Cup matches – beginning with the First Round in November and running through the Final – exclusively to ESPN+. The FA Community Shield, the annual football match between FA Cup and Premier League titleholders to start the English football season, is also part of the deal.
Coverage of the 2018-19 FA Cup season on ESPN+, the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) segment and ESPN, will kick off Saturday, Nov. 10, with First Round matches and concludes with the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London on May 18, 2019.
Additional content will be featured across ESPN+ and other ESPN platforms, including FA Cup highlights shows following match days, FA Cup preview shows and live coverage of the FA Cup draws. Furthermore, the semifinals and final matches of the FA Youth Cup – contested by registered clubs featuring players under 18 years of age – will be carried live on ESPN+.
“Acquiring the FA Cup – the oldest national football competition in the world – further demonstrates our commitment to making ESPN+ a must-have for soccer fans in the U.S.,” said Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, ESPN. “With its storied tradition and world-class players and teams, FA Cup will be a signature property in ESPN+’s ever-expanding soccer portfolio.”
Tom Gracey, The FA’s Senior Broadcast Manager said: “The Emirates FA Cup remains the world’s most famous domestic cup competition, with unrivalled appeal both at home and abroad. Thanks to ESPN+, we are delighted that football fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy premium coverage of the competition from the First Round, through to The Final.”
Hillary Mandel, SVP, North America, IMG Media, said: “ESPN is building an outstanding portfolio of top class football from around the world and, in the FA Cup, they have the world’s oldest and most prestigious club tournament. The competition is very special, featuring the minnows of the lower leagues against the likes of the Premier League elite, providing many giant-killings over the years as well as some great cup finals at Wembley. In ESPN, the FA has a great partner who will both showcase and maximize awareness of the competition for the US audience.”
The FA Cup, also called The Football Association Challenge Cup, is the annual knockout competition in English soccer. First played in the 1871-72 season, the competition is open to all registered – professional and non-professional – teams in England. This season (2018-19), more than 700 clubs will compete in the FA Cup.
Over the years, the competition has grown as fans of lower-division teams anxiously root for their clubs to become “giant-killers” that upset higher-ranked teams. The “Magic of the FA Cup,” replete with Cinderella runs by teams and stirring scenes as clubs from lower levels of English soccer challenge Premier League clubs, has turned the competition into the world’s most famous knockout Cup in domestic soccer.
Soccer on ESPN+
Last week, ESPN+ announced a new multi-year agreement with Serie A TIM that includes more than 340 Italian soccer matches per year, beginning Aug. 18 with the Cristiano Ronaldo’s league debut w/ Juventus. Earlier this week, ESPN+ also announced a separate agreement for rights to three top-division soccer leagues – Australia’s A-League, Chinese Super League and the Dutch Eredivisie. ESPN+ is already home to hundreds more soccer matches from around the globe as well, including MLS LIVE – a lineup of more than 250 Major League Soccer out-of-market matches; over 100 live matches from the UEFA Nations League (UNL), a new tournament among the 55-member nations from the Union of European Football Associations played on FIFA international match days beginning in September 2018; hundreds of matches from English Football League (EFL) including contests from EFL Championship, Carabao Cup, League 1 and League 2; the United Soccer League (USL); exclusive local market coverage of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire; and more.
ESPN+ is also the exclusive platform for ESPN FC, ESPN’s daily global soccer news, information and analysis program, hosted by Dan Thomas and a roster of pundits from around the world.
ESPN+ is the premium multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment in conjunction with ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks.
Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of live matches from MLB, NHL, MLS, thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and multiple other sports from more than 15 conferences), exclusive Top Rank boxing, UFC (beginning in 2019), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic soccer and rugby, cricket, new and exclusive documentary films and series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time.
ESPN+ is an integrated part of the ESPN App, the leading sports app and the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans. ESPN+ is also be available through ESPN.com.