ESPN Networks to Televise 28 MLS is Back Tournament Matches July 8 – August 11

MLSSoccer

ESPN Networks to Televise 28 MLS is Back Tournament Matches July 8 – August 11

Note: The original release has been updated to reflect match schedule changes 

  • Coverage kicks off July 8 with Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF
  • ESPN to serve as the production services provider for the month-long, 54-match tournament
  • Match times: 9 a.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will combine to televise 28 of the 54 total matches of the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida beginning Wednesday, July 8, through Tuesday, Aug. 11. In addition, ESPN will serve as the production services provider for the MLS is Back Tournament. Highlights:

  • ESPN will air 22 matches including the opener, all seven matches in the 9 a.m. ET window, and the Final
  • ESPN2 will televise six matches including one match in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds
  • ESPN Deportes will carry Spanish-language telecasts of the 28 ESPN matches
  • All ESPN MLS is Back Tournament matches will stream live on the ESPN App
  • Jon Champion (play-by-play) and analyst Taylor Twellman call the matches in English. Adrian Healey and Alejandro Moreno will handle commentary on select matches
  • Richard Mendez and Alex Pareja will be the lead Spanish-language commentary team on ESPN Deportes, joined by Mauricio Pedroza and Herculez Gomez who will call some matches as well
  • General assignment reporter Stefano Fusaro will be on-location in Orlando to cover the tournament as a bilingual reporter across ESPN’s English- and Spanish-language platforms. He will serve as sideline reporter for matches on ESPN networks
  • ESPN platforms will provide comprehensive surround coverage of the tournament across SportsCenter, ESPN FC on ESPN+, ESPN.com digital hub, and on ESPN Deportes studio programs.

The tournament will kick off July 8 with an opening day doubleheader on ESPN and ESPN Deportes featuring Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF – the first-ever meeting between MLS’s new Florida rivals – at 8 p.m. ET and Nashville SC vs. Chicago Fire FC at 10:30 p.m. [Note: late match was postponed] on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

The MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is Major League Soccer’s innovative approach to resume its 25th season with all 26 clubs competing in a 54-match tournament. The matches will be played without fans in attendance. The group stage matches will count in the league’s regular season standings and the tournament winner will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.

ESPN – MLS is Back Tournament production services provider:

ESPN will serve as the MLS is Back Tournament production services provider, led by veteran soccer producer Amy Rosenfeld, ESPN’s vice president of production. ESPN will produce all 54 matches and provide clean television feeds for each match to Major League Soccer and its media partners in the US, Canada, and to the league’s international broadcast partners.

Rosenfeld said: “The return of Major League Soccer is fantastic news for sports fans. We are proud to be the production services provider for the MLS is Back Tournament in addition to presenting 28 matches across ESPN networks.”

Key dates:

  • July 8 – Opening day: The tournament starts with the opening day match featuring state of Florida rivals on ESPN networks
  • July 18 – “MLS is Back” El Tráfico: The only scheduled El Tráfico match – Los Angeles FC vs. LA Galaxy – in the tournament on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m.
  • July 22 – Tripleheader MLS matches: Beginning with Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City at 9 a.m., all three matches on this day will air exclusively on an ESPN network
  • August 11 – The Final: The winner of the tournament final earns a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, the region’s prestigious international club competition. 

MLS is Back Tournament Groups:

Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F
Orlando Seattle Toronto Salt Lake City Atlanta Los Angeles FC
Miami Dallas * New England Kansas City Cincinnati Los Angeles Galaxy
New York City Vancouver Montreal Colorado New York RB Houston
Philadelphia San Jose Washington, DC Minnesota Columbus Portland
Chicago ^
Nashville *

* Dallas and Nashville withdrew from the tournament

^ Chicago moved to Group B  

MLS is Back Tournament Schedule on ESPN Networks:

Date Time (ET) Match Platforms
Wed, Jul 8 8 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF

John Champion and Taylor Twellman

Richard Mendez and Alex Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Thu, Jul 9 9 a.m. New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union

Champion and Twellman; Mendez and Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Fri, Jul 10 9 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman

Mauricio Pedroza and Herculez Gomez

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, Jul 12 9 a.m. Toronto FC vs. DC United (POSTPONED)

  • Moved to Monday, 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2 

Adrian Healey and Alejandro Moreno

Richard Mendez and Alex Pareja

ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
  8 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC

Champion and Twellman; Mendez and Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids

Healey and Moreno; Pedroza and Gomez

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Tue, Jul 14 9 a.m. Chicago Fire FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC

Champion and Twellman

Jorge Ramos and Diego Cora

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Thu, Jul 16 9 a.m. Atlanta United vs. FC Cincinnati

Champion and Twellman; Ramos and Cora

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Fri, Jul 17 8 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids

Champion and Twellman; Mendez and Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United FC

Healey and Moreno; Pedroza and Gomez

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sat, Jul 18 8 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo

Healey and Moreno; Mendez and Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. LAFC vs. LA Galaxy

Champion and Twellman; Ramos and Gomez

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Mon, Jul 20 9 a.m. Inter Miami CF vs. New York City FC

Champion and Twellman; Ramos and Cora

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Tue, Jul 21 9 a.m. Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution

Champion and Twellman; Mendez and Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Wed, Jul 22 9 a.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City

Champion and Twellman; Ramos and Cora

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  8 p.m. FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls

Healey and Moreno; Mendez and Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United FC

Champion and Twellman; Pedroza and Gomez

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Thu, Jul 23 9 a.m. Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Ramos and Cora

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. LAFC vs. Portland Timbers

Champion and Twellman; Pedroza and Gomez

ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Sat, Jul 25 8 p.m. Round of 16 – 1A vs. 3 (BCDE) ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Round of 16 – 2A vs 2C ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Tue, Jul 28 8 p.m. Round of 16 – 1E vs. 2D ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Round of 16 – 1F vs. 2E ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Thu, Jul 30 8 p.m. Quarterfinal I ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sat, Aug 1 8 p.m. Quarterfinal III ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Thu, Aug 6 8 p.m. Semifinal II ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Tue, Aug 11 8 p.m. MLS is Back Tournament Final ESPN, ESPN Deportes

* Schedule Subject to Change

* All matches will stream live on the ESPN App

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Mac Nwulu

I joined ESPN in 1998 and since then, it's been a great experience managing PR and communications for a range of ESPN initiatives and properties, including soccer, NFL and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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