This past weekend Sporting Kansas City played on Fox Sports 1 so that was the only way to watch the game. In prior weeks, for non-nationally televised games, MLS Live has been free for everyone and Kansas City residents have Fox Sports KC or Fox Sports KC+. The USL have always streamed their games on YouTube, at least for as long as the Swope Park Rangers have been in the league.
Going forward, the only way to watch if you live out of market is to subscribe to ESPN+, the new ESPN streaming service. Before you get too excited, you aren’t getting all of ESPN’s programming on ESPN+. There is no Monday Night Football. There is no Sunday Night Baseball.
All that said, ESPN+ is a must have for any out of market MLS fan (or if you are a Kansas City resident who wants to watch other MLS games) and is an absolute must have for any USL soccer fan. In addition there are lots of other sports that will be on the ESPN+ platform. There is English Championship, MLB, NHL, PGA Tour Golf, Grand Slam tennis (Wimbledown, US Open and Australian Open), college football, rugby, Canadian Football League as well as tons of other college sports (basketball, baseball, lacrosse, softball and more).
In addition to live sports, ESPN+ will have 30 for 30, E:60, Draft Academy and for soccer/football fans: ESPN FC. All of this is only $4.99 per month after a free 30 day trial. That’s a pretty low cost, much lower than MLS Live has been in the past. This is all setting the stage for Disney, ESPN’s parent company, to launch their own streaming service in the future. That’s probably something I’ll need just for Star Wars content alone.
ESPN+ isn’t the only option out there. Twitter is available for Univision Deportes games for fans in the United States. Here is a list of all nationally televised games (Sporting KC don’t play on UDN in 2018). You’ll still need Fox Sports 1, big FOX and traditional ESPN or ESPN2 for nationally broadcast games which will be blacked out on ESPN+.
There are USL teams with their own local contracts as well and of course every MLS team has their own broadcast and/or streaming deals. In Canada, MLS Live is not on ESPN+ but instead the DAZN platform. DAZN will cover all games not on TSN, CTV and TVAS.
Last, and weirdly, MLS Direct Kick is still a thing. It’s $89.00 on DirecTV and iN Demand and it’s more than ESPN+ but gives you less content.
Overall there are lots of ways to watch but ESPN+ has become an affordable must-have for any MLS and USL fans.