ESPN+ has picked up the rights to the Belgian Pro League in another coup for the streaming service that is fast becoming the destination for soccer in the United States.
Even though the current 2020/21 season is more than half over, there’s a growing interest in the Belgium Pro League given the number of Americans playing there. Currently, the Belgian Jupiler League features Americans Matt Miazga (Anderlecht), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Ethan Horvath (Brugge), Brendan Hines-Ike (Kortrijk) and Chris Durkin (Sint-Truidense).
This weekend, ESPN+ will broadcast its first three matches including STVV vs. Zulte Waregem on Saturday plus Sunday’s games featuring Standard Liege vs. Royal Antwerp as well as Charleroi and Club Brugge, all streamed live on ESPN+. Matches will be available in both English- and Spanish-language. ESPN is expected to feature up to three matches per gameweek on ESPN+, according to a MediaPro spokesman.
Speaking to World Soccer Talk, Belgium Pro League Chief Business Officer Leander Monbaliu said, “For the Pro League, the U.S. market is a key strategic market for further development in the upcoming seasons. The potential is huge and we are extremely proud of the five-year agreement with a premium broadcaster like ESPN in the region covering North, Central and South America, including the Caribbean. It will certainly boost our presence in the region, and we look forward to developing our product together with ESPN and Eleven in the upcoming years.”
Eleven Sports, MediaPro and Pro League worked together to sell the international distribution rights.
The Belgian league is seen as an excellent developmental league that offers footballers a chance to showcase their skills at a high level. Plus, with the top Belgium teams competing in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, the league can be the ideal stepping stone for footballers wanting to join bigger clubs throughout the European continent.
Founded in 1895, Belgium’s top-flight league includes several famous clubs such as Club Brugge, Anderlecht, Genk, Antwerp, and Standard Liege.
In previous seasons, the Belgium Pro League has bounced around a few different broadcasters in the United States including Eleven Sports most recently in 2017.
In addition to Belgium’s top league, ESPN+ also includes the Bundesliga, Serie A, UEFA Nations League, Championship, League One, League Two, FA Cup, League Cup, MLS, Leagues Cup, US Open Cup, USL, International Champions Cup, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, Eredivisie, Danish Superliga, Chinese Super League, Indian Super League, Australian A-League, Sweden’s Allsvenskan, and FA Community Shield.
ESPN+ is available at $5.99 per month.