ESPN, Fox Sports Head to Orlando for MLS is Back Tournament
American soccer will be making its highly-anticipated return next month with the MLS is Back Tournament, and both ESPN’sfamily of networks and Fox Sports will make the journey down to Orlando at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes will combine to televise 28 of the 54 total matches, beginning on Wednesday, July 8, through Tuesday, Aug. 11. In addition, ESPN will serve as the production services provider for the MLS is Back Tournament.
- 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. 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.
“The return of Major League Soccer is fantastic news for sports fans,” says Rosenfeld. “We are proud to be the production services provider for the MLS is Back Tournament in addition to presenting 28 matches across ESPN networks.”
- July 8 – Opening day: The tournament starts with an opening day doubleheader 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
- New York City
- Group B
- San Jose
- Group C
- New England
- Washington, DC
- Group D
- Salt Lake City
- Kansas City
- Group E
- New York RB
- Group F
- Los Angeles FC
- Los Angeles Galaxy
For the full schedule, click here.
Fox Sports kicks off its MLS is Back Tournament slate on Friday, July 11 at 8:00 PM ET with Atlanta United vs. New York Red Bulls on Fox and FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew SC at 10:30 PM ET on FS1. Among the nine group stage matchups are past MLS Cup champions, historic rivalries, and recent additions to the league. The lineup features two appearances each by Columbus Crew SC, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy along with matches featuring Atlanta United, Chicago Fire FC, D.C. United, FC Cincinnati, Inter Miami CF, LAFC, New England Revolution, New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, and Portland Timbers.
Fox Sports’ coverage of the all-new tournament includes nine group stage matchups, four knockout stage matches, two quarterfinals and a semifinal.