Athletes Unlimited and ESPN have formed a multi-year media rights agreement for both pro softball and lacrosse.
The collaboration will see over 160 live games from the women’s sports organisation stream exclusively on ESPN platforms over the next two years.
Jon Patricof, CEO and Co-Founder of Athletes Unlimited, commented: “We are proud to collaborate with ESPN to solidify Athletes Unlimited Softball and Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse as two of the major pro sports leagues in the US.
“This deal establishes our presence as a major force in the pro sports landscape in the US, while serving as yet another reminder of ESPN’s commitment to women’s sports.”
Furthermore, the partners have stated that at least 90 Athletes Unlimited events will be televised on linear networks over the course of the deal, including 34 on ESPN or ESPN2, and 56 on ESPNU.
The remaining games will be available to stream on ESPN+. Additionally, ESPN will have international rights for these competitions to air on TSN in Canada, ESPN Latin America and other platforms.
Burke Magnus, ESPN President, Programming & Original Content, added: “ESPN is excited to expand its relationship with Athletes Unlimited and be part of their innovative approach to women’s professional sports.
“We are looking forward to showcasing these world class softball and lacrosse athletes as part of our longstanding commitment to women’s sports.”
Athletes Unlimited Softball is set to expand this summer to include a new two-week competition, AUX Softball, that looks to provide more playing opportunities and compensation to athletes, and more pro softball for fans.
In addition to game coverage, ESPN and Athletes Unlimited will also collaborate to create Going Pro: Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse, which is a four-part series that will air on ESPN+ and follow four Athletes Unlimited lacrosse players as they professionally compete for the first time.
It has been revealed that the upcoming series will focus on Britt Brown, Mira Shane, Ella Simkins, and Izzy McMahon, and show how lacrosse has “shaped their lives, performances on the field week-to-week, leadership and team-building challenges faced, and their efforts to diversify lacrosse and bring the sport to new audiences”.