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USL Championship to have 20 games on ESPN networks in 2020

ESPN linear networks will air 20 USL Championship games this season. All other games will be available on ESPN+.

A USL Championship Select ball lays at the feet of a player on May 29, 2019 in Cary, N.C. during U.S. Open Cup play. (Mitchell Northam / Pro Soccer USA)

Nearly every week of the 2020 USL Championship season, a national audience will be able to tune into a game on linear television.

The league announced Wednesday the slate of games that will be shown on ESPN networks for the upcoming season.

Seven games will air on ESPNews, 10 games will be shown on ESPN Deportes and two games will be on ESPN2. The USL Championship final will also air on one of the channels. In 2019, just eight USL Championship games aired on ESPN’s linear networks.

The first USL Championship game to air on linear television this year will be March 7, when Landon Donovan’s expansion side San Diego Loyal SC takes on Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights FC at 10:30 p.m. ET. Now managers, Donovan and Wynalda are two of the top five all-time leading scorers in U.S. men’s national team history.

ESPN Deportes’ coverage of the league will begin March 27, when the Tampa Bay Rowdies host Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at 7:30 p.m. ET. Both teams made the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2019.

The Riverhounds are scheduled to have the most games on ESPN networks this season with three. Several others, including North Carolina FC and New Mexico United, will appear twice. Both of NCFC’s Southern Derby Cup games — against the Charlotte Independence and the Charleston Battery — will be on ESPN networks.

Memphis 901 FC will host the Charleston Battery April 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET in the first match of the year that will air on ESPN2. The other ESPN2 match is on Aug. 12, when San Diego hosts El Paso Locomotive FC at 10 p.m. ET.

The USL Championship and ESPN reached a broadcasting deal last August that runs through the 2022 season. As part of the deal, all USL Championship and USL League One games will be available on the network’s paid streaming service, ESPN+. The USL and ESPN have been partners in various capacities since 2016.

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