The United Soccer League recently announced the start of its own television network, offering fans and supporters a unique outlet for content and news moving forward in the future. The USL Television Network is available to more than 10 million households throughout the United States, and will broadcast over 300 games this season.
USL Launches Television Network and Expands Its Overall Reach
The league has made a significant investment in its own production department, and the expansion of USL broadcasts and content is certainly important as it looks to evolve its Division II status.
The new network is available in 17 markets, including Tampa Bay, Charlotte and Phoenix. Many matches will be available with Spanish-language commentary, as well as weekly highlight programming.
Last Word On Sports had a chance to speak with USL Executive Vice President Tom Veit about the new network and the impact it will have for the league.
Roy Emanuel: “What aspects of the USL Television Network do you think will improve the overall fan experience?”
Tom Veit: “Well, I think first of all it is all about distribution. The network is going to be available to more people. In previous years, we were on YouTube and we had a digital presence. But now, there is a greater focus on getting local teams to their local fans.
It is now faster and easier to give the fans multiple options when it comes to watching matches. Not only do you get to the fans who are looking for it, you get the folks who come across it as well. Part of that comes with local promotion from the clubs and the network also. Every aspect ultimately increases.”
RE: “Currently there are 17 markets involved with the network. Do you eventually expect all team markets to be a part of the USL Television Network?”
TV: “Yes, without a doubt. We are actually ahead of schedule. When we decided to launch the network, we were anticipating around nine or ten teams to be involved.
So we have already exceeded expectations in year one.”
RE: “How important was it to ensure that Spanish-language broadcasts were available as well?”
TV: “Extremely important, and it is an area that we definitely want to grow. Our design in our productions has allowed us to easily broadcast in multiple languages.
The Hispanic market is very important for us, and we would like to see all of our clubs broadcast games in English and Spanish over the next couple of years.”
RE: “If it’s possible to narrow one down, is there a specific market that you believe will have the biggest impact thanks to the new network?”
TV: “Overall, I think Phoenix stands out. There is a complete renaissance happening with that team and it is fantastic to see. St. Louis. Cincinnati. It really affects every market in a positive way.
Oklahoma City is in their second year with it and were truly one of the trailblazers. They are doing very well. Wherever it is, I think it will really help the club and the market.”
RE: “Final question is a bit off the topic. With all of the early upsets in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup thus far, how have USL squads lived up to your expectations in this year’s tournament?”
TV: “I am pretty happy with where we are, and it is great to see competition from all levels of the game. Some of the world’s best tournaments involve underdogs coming out of absolutely nowhere and making an impact.
We take the U.S. Open Cup very seriously and we have multiple teams going through. We are quite proud of our PDL clubs as well, a part of the USL family.
The tournament has been spectacular so far and we look forward to the next rounds.”