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- The Bundesliga, Germany's top soccer league, will begin its 2020-21 season on September 18 with a match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Munich.
- ESPN will stream the entirety of the Bundesliga 2020-21 season through the ESPN+ streaming service.
- Select games, including the season opener, will also be broadcast on the ESPN cable channel.
- ESPN+ is available for $5.99 a month, or $49.99 per year for an annual plan.
For the first time in the streaming service's history, ESPN+ will broadcast German Bundesliga soccer to US audiences. ESPN succeeds Fox Sports who previously owned broadcasting rights in the United States from 2015-20. While Fox's soccer broadcasting aided in growing the sport in the United States, the network's coverage occasionally left something to be desired.
This was especially troublesome with games played after the league's restart in May. These matches were shown without any pregame or postgame coverage. Additionally, the network neglected to show games on its main Fox channel, despite the Bundesliga being the only major sports league to conduct play at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
ESPN will usher in a new era of Bundesliga coverage in the US. Speaking at the announcement of their agreement, Bundesliga International CEO Robert Klein said of ESPN, "It was clear from the start that ESPN and ESPN+ shared our ambitious vision. As innovators in the sports industry, we're both driven to deliver highly engaging content for fans."
The Bundesliga has long been appealing to US audiences because of its teams' tendency to recruit American players. Most notably, and to the surprise of many, Christian Pulisic got his start with Borussia Dortmund in 2016. He played a significant role for Dortmund until he signed with Chelsea FC in 2019. Similarly, Weston Mckennie helped guide Schalke to one of the club's most successful seasons in 2017. His consistent performances for Schalke earned him a move to Italian giants Juventus this summer.
In their shadow now stands yet another American, Giovanni Reyna, who is looking to break through with the Bundesliga. While Reyna occasionally featured for Borussia Dortmund at the end of the 2020 season, his strong preseason will have him in serious contention for a leading role in this year's team. ESPN recently told Reyna's story on an edition of SportsCenter.
Updated on 9/14/2020 by Andrew Severin: This article has been completely revised with new details about the 2020-21 Bundesliga season and ESPN+ streaming rights.
How to watch the Bundesliga 2020-21 season on ESPN+
ESPN+ will stream all of the Bundesliga's more than 300 matches during the 2020-21 season. The new season kicks off on September 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET, when Bayern Munich hosts Schalke. ESPN cable channels, such as ESPN and ESPN Deportes, will also feature select Bundesliga matches throughout the season, including the opening game.
With that said, other specific games scheduled for broadcast on ESPN have not been not been announced yet. In order to ensure you have access to all of the Bundesliga matches, you'll need to subscribe to ESPN+. In addition to live games, ESPN+ will also offer Bundesliga coverage on its ESPN FC show throughout the season.
ESPN+ costs $5.99 a month, or $49.99 per year if you pay for an annual plan. I've mentioned before that this is a favorite deal of mine, as ESPN+ subscribers can access more than 2,000 soccer matches per year from leagues around the world.
For those who crave even more streaming content, ESPN+ is also available as part of a discounted bundle with Hulu and Disney Plus. The bundle costs $12.99 a month, which is about $6 less than you'd pay if you signed up for each service separately.
You can access ESPN+ on most major mobile devices, media players, and connected TV devices, including Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, Roku, Samsung smart TVs, and more.