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ESPN, ESPN+ to carry all Serie A matches in U.S.

Milan and the Italian top flight have a new broadcast partner after several years on beIN Sports.

AC Milan v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
Every Serie A match will be available either on ESPN, ESPN 2 or the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, ESPN+.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

One of the biggest questions of the summer for AC Milan and Serie A fans has been answered, as a broadcast rights agreement has been announced in the United States.

ESPN is the new rights-holder for Serie A in the U.S., the company announced Tuesday afternoon. The multi-year agreement ensures all 380 league matches are accessible on ESPN networks or ESPN+, the company’s new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, which is available to fans for $5 per month.

The Serie A season kicks off with Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus taking on Chievo Verona on Aug. 18. That match will be carried on ESPN+.

The league’s return to ESPN will feature a weekly Match of the Week will be carried on ESPN or ESPN 2 as a Match of the Week, according to the company’s press release. These matches will also be available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. More than 340 matches will be available through ESPN+.

ESPN+, which features exclusive content not available through ESPN’s typical cable package, will also be home to a weekly preview, highlights show and goals of the week show. The streaming service is already home to all out-of-market matches for Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League, select matches from the English Football League and the EFL Cup, the daily ESPN FC show and MLS Rewind, a weekly MLS highlight show.

This announcement is a big one for Serie A’s reach in the United States. For years, there have been mixed feelings about beIN Sports, due to a perceived lack of coverage. Serie A matches were often overlooked on the network’s main channel in favor of Real Madrid, Barcelona or PSG (beIN own the rights to La Liga through 2020 and Ligue 1 through 2024). That’s before conversation about the price. Verizon and Comcast are among the cable providers to recently announce they are dropping beIN due to an increase in the price. Streaming platforms such as FuboTV and Sling TV offer packages that include beIN Sports, but their monthly cost is several times more than the $5 of ESPN+.

The reaction has been mixed from Milan fans, and Serie A fans in general, due to the need to pay for ESPN+ to watch their team’s matches. But overall, the value – with every match available and an abundance of league-specific content on the way – appears to provide a lot of bang for a few bucks.