ESPN Re-Ups International Champions Cup for Exclusive Rights of 25 Matches Through 2021
ESPN has reached a new multi-year agreement with Relevent Sports Group for media rights to the International Champions Cup (ICC), the soccer season’s first competition featuring top-tier and championship-winning clubs. The agreement grants ESPN exclusive English and Spanish-language rights to a total of 25 matches, including the annual ICC tournament and various club friendlies, each summer in the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean through 2021.
In the U.S., ESPN, and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will each televise 15 matches per year. For the first time, ESPN+, the direct-to-consumer sports video service, will exclusively carry up to 10 matches live in English and Spanish, beginning this summer.
Additionally, ESPN platforms will cover the Women’s International Champions Cup – a new women’s competition that debuted in 2018 with the best clubs in women’s soccer. ESPN’s ICC coverage will also include the International Champions Cup Futures tournament. ICC Futures debuted in 2018 as an under-14 boys tournament with youth clubs from around the world and in 2019 will be expanded to include an under-15 girls tournament as well.
“The International Champions Cup has quickly become the premier summer club tournament in global football with elite teams from around the world competing against one another,” says Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, ESPN. “By extending our relationship with Relevent Sports Group, we will now expand coverage of the event to include ESPN+ and we will add the Women’s ICC as an important part of our company’s soccer portfolio.”
The 2019 ICC marks the fourth straight year of ICC matches on ESPN – Relevent Sports Group’s exclusive media partner in the United States. Last year, ESPN carried all 27 ICC matches as 18 premiere clubs played in eight countries across North America, Europe, and Asia over a three-week period.
“In 6 years, the International Champions Cup has become a fixture on the soccer calendar and the official start of the soccer season and ESPN has played a big part in that process,” says Relevent Sports Group Executive Chairman Charlie Stillitano. “When looking to advance the tournament, we extended our agreement with ESPN, in large part because they share our vision of growing the sport of soccer both domestically and around the world.”
“We are proud to once again be working with ESPN, who has been the ideal broadcast partner, increasing the International Champions Cup’s visibility to millions of fans,” says Relevent Sports Group CEO Daniel Sillman. “The addition of the ICC Women’s and Futures broadcasts will be hugely impactful in developing these tournaments into best of class properties.”
In Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, all ICC matches, Women’s ICC matches, and ICC Futures matches, will air across ESPN platforms, including ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN3 and ESPN Play, ESPN’s multiscreen live and on-demand broadband service in the region.
The 2019 International Champions Cup schedule on ESPN and ESPN+ will be announced at a later date.