ESPN Platforms Kick Off Major League Soccer’s 26th Season with an Exclusive Preview Show on ESPN+, Opening Weekend Matches on ESPN+ and ABC, and More

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ESPN Platforms Kick Off Major League Soccer’s 26th Season with an Exclusive Preview Show on ESPN+, Opening Weekend Matches on ESPN+ and ABC, and More

  • ABC to bookend 2021 MLS on ESPN season with Sunday’s Inter Miami CF vs LA Galaxy and the 2021 MLS Cup in December
  • New in 2021: Preseason special and Futbol Americas with Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar, exclusively on ESPN+
  • More than 380 live MLS matches, comprehensive surround programming, and more

ESPN’s coverage of Major League Soccer’s 26th season will kick off this weekend with a full slate of MLS Live on ESPN+ out-of-market matches, ABC’s broadcast of Inter Miami CF vs. LA Galaxy, and the first-ever MLS preview special on ESPN+.

Before calling Sunday’s match on ABC, ESPN’s lead MLS commentator team of Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman will host the 2021 MLS Preview Show on Friday, April 16, at 7 p.m. ET, exclusively on ESPN+. The one-hour look-ahead to the season will highlight MLS’s marquee clubs, including expansion Austin FC; examine offseason moves; and offer predictions for MLS Cup. Special guests will include ESPN+ Futbol Americas co-host Herculez Gomez and The Athletic soccer writer Paul Tenorio.

In 2021, ESPN networks will feature more than 380 MLS regular season matches across ABC, ESPN and ESPN+, including a combined 32 matches across ABC (five), ESPN (26) and ESPN2 (one), while ESPN Deportes will carry Spanish-language telecasts of all 32 matches. Schedule. Across broadcast and cable networks, as well as streaming and digital, ESPN platforms will combine to provide the most expansive coverage of Major League Soccer by any media company to date.

Beyond live matches, SportsCenter and other ESPN studio shows will feature MLS highlights, interviews, analysis, features and more.

MLS on ABC

For the second straight season, ABC will broadcast MLS regular season matches, beginning with the opening weekend of the regular season and concluding with Major League Soccer’s championship. On Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m. EDT, ABC will feature second-year franchise Inter Miami CF vs. LA Galaxy, the most successful club in MLS history. ABC will also broadcast the crowning of the league champions during 2021 MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. EST.

Five MLS on ABC regular-season matches

Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Sun, Apr 18 3 p.m. Inter Miami CF vs. LA Galaxy ABC, ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 9 1 p.m. Inter Miami CF vs. Atlanta United ABC, ESPN Deportes
  3 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders ABC, ESPN Deportes
Sat, May 22 3:30 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy ABC, ESPN Deportes
Sat, Jul 24 3:30 p.m. Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew ABC, ESPN Deportes

Commentators

  • English – Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman
  • Spanish – Richard Mendez and Alex Pareja; Mauricio Pedroza and Herculez Gomez; and Jorge Ramos and Hernan Pereyra
  • English Studio: Sebastian Salazar, Kasey Keller and Alejandro Moreno.

ESPN Deportes

ESPN Deportes will offer Spanish-language telecasts of 32 regular-season MLS matches in 2021, as well as MLS Playoffs and MLS Cup. In addition, the network’s extensive surround programming – SportsCenter, Ahura o Nunca, Jorge Ramos y Su Banda and more – will feature MLS discussions, highlights, analysis, discussion segments, and more. Spanish-language digital video and written content is available on www.ESPNDeportes.com.

Out-of-Market MLS Games – Exclusively on ESPN+

ESPN+ will debut its season-long coverage of MLS matches with the Houston Dynamo hosting the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday at 8 p.m. ESPN+, the exclusive home of approximately 350 out-of-market MLS games, will stream eight opening weekend matches Friday through Sunday.

MLS Live on ESPN+ Games for Week 1:

Date Time (ET) Event
Fri, Apr 16 8 p.m. Houston Dynamo FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Sat, Apr 17 2 p.m. CF Montreal vs. Toronto FC
  8 p.m. Dallas FC vs. Colorado Rapids
  8 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City
  8 p.m. DC United vs. New York City FC
  8:30 p.m. Nashville SC vs. FC Cincinnati
  8:30 p.m. Chicago Fire FC vs. New England Revolution
Sun, Apr 18 10 p.m. Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers

ESPN FC on ESPN+

ESPN FC, the daily soccer news and information, highlights and analysis program exclusively on ESPN+, will feature MLS-themed segments throughout the season. The popular soccer studio show features host Dan Thomas and a rotating roster of pundits. ESPN FC’s coverage of the league will include match previews, highlights and recaps, analysis, and interviews with players, coaches and newsmakers.

Futbol Americas (ESPN+)

Hosted by Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar, the new soccer studio show debuted in March and airs exclusively on ESPN+, Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. ET. Futbol Americas, which focuses on United States and Mexican national team players through their international and club seasons, will include discussions, interviews and analysis of Major League Soccer players all season.

New MLS Live on ESPN+ Marketing Spot

ESPN+ has released a new custom campaign spot for MLS Live on ESPN+ titled “Any Given Match Day” that highlights the 350 regular season matches available on the platform, giving fans the best access to all the live action, excitement and intensity that Major League Soccer has to offer. The spot.

ESPN.com/Soccer

Ahead of the first MLS on ABC match in 2021 – Inter Miami CF vs. La Galaxy, a matchup of teams closely associated with global soccer icon David Beckham, writer Bruce Schoenfeld examines how Beckham is plotting a rebound from Inter Miami’s less-than-spectacular inaugural season in 2020. The multimedia project includes an interview with Beckham by Taylor Twellman (video) and a photo shoot with the former Galaxy star. The story published today. Additional MLS highlights:

  • Writer Jeff Carlisle leads com’s expansive coverage of Major League Soccer’s 26th season with contributions from a slate of standout US-based soccer journalists
  • Can’t miss MLS games –com staff pore through the 2021 MLS schedule and highlight the matches worth waiting for
  • 2021 season guide – Experts predict how the teams and players will fare during the season, including predictions of the 2021 MLS Cup champion, MLS MVP, Rookie of the Year, and ESPN.com’s awards such as Comeback Star of the Season, Best New Designated Player, Most Underrated Player and Shock of the Season;
  • MLS Jersey Power Rankings A new season means brand new team kits across the league. Austin Lindberg ranks the jerseys of MLS’s 27 teams. The weekly, in-season power rankings based on each team’s on-the-field performance and results will debut every Monday
  • Weekly highlights, clips and analysis from ESPN FC and the new Futbol Americas with Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar
  • Notable Upcoming Stories – ESPN examines a make-or-break year for MLS’s glamor franchise LAFC (April 24, LAFC vs. Seattle); the big interview with striker Josef Martinez (May 9, Inter Miami CF vs. Atlanta); how Austin, Texas, culture gave rise to expansion club Austin FC (June 19, Austin’s home stadium opener); and an oral history of American soccer’s most iconic rivalry (August 29, Portland vs. Seattle, during MLS Heineken Rivalry Week).
  • MLS Confidential – an anonymous player poll on social justice, league expansion, best pitch, best kit, worst road trip, and more.

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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 over the years. I am currently focused on soccer and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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