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ESPN+ to acquire Bundesliga rights from 2020 – report

Direct-to-consumer streaming service ESPN+ is close to adding the Bundesliga to its array of global soccer rights in the United States, according to the New York Post.

The proposed deal, which would likely include some games on ESPN’s linear channels, would begin in the 2020-21 season.

The Bundesliga is currently broadcast on Fox networks in the US and its move to ESPN+ would represent another significant blow to Fox’s soccer coverage, having last year lost the rights to the Champions League and Europa League to Turner Sports.

Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice-president of programming and scheduling, said in May that accumulating US content rights for international soccer has proven to be a key initial priority for the over-the-top offering, which debuted in April 2018. 

“We’re looking at all territories,” Magnus said. “We probably could do more in Latin America, South America, Central America, Mexico. That’s the next place we’re going to look…For an overall soccer fan, just having this buffet of great leagues and tournaments around the world is part of our design of making ESPN+ an indispensable proposition for a fan in that category. But in you need to have a critical mass [of rights] in order to have that dynamic.”

ESPN+ also has the soccer rights to out-of-market Major League Soccer games, Italy’s Serie A, the English FA Cup, as well as a host of other leagues and competitions.