Disney has announced that ESPN has signed a new media rights deal with League One Volleyball (LOVB), the largest brand in youth volleyball with its professional volleyball league, which is launching in the U.S. later this year.

This new deal will see pro matches across its linear networks and digital platforms, which include ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN+.  The new agreement will showcase ESPN’s continued commitment and belief in pro volleyball as the game continues to break attendance records and drives palpable fandom around the globe.

Rosie Spaulding, COO of LOVB Pro said in a statement:

“LOVB has set out on an ambitious path to develop volleyball into the next major American sports league, and we could not think of a better media company to have in this journey than ESPN.  With the championship-caliber of our athletes and the level of their play, we believe the sport of professional volleyball will capture the attention and excitement of sports fans across the United States, and we can’t wait to work with ESPN to introduce the next generation of superstar athletes and everything the sport has to offer to today’s passionate fans and tomorrow’s new ones.”

ESPN platforms will begin the new agreement by airing 10 LOVB Pro matches across its linear networks beginning in January 2025 when LOVB’s inaugural season begins. Eighteen of LOVB’s matches will also stream on ESPN+, the industry’s leading sports streaming service. All match telecasts will include commercial inventory for LOVB to enable brands interested in reaching volleyball’s passionate audience the opportunity to make a big impact across all ESPN platforms.  

There are more than 38 million current and former volleyball players in the US alone, and last year’s collegiate match between Nebraska and Omaha broke the all-time attendance record for a women’s sporting event with 92,003 fans. Also, the NCAA final match between Texas and Nebraska on ABC averaged 1.7 million viewers. The opportunity for brands to capture an all-new and committed fanbase has never been more evident.

Daniel Margulis, Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions at ESPN added:

“As our coverage of collegiate volleyball continues to evolve, LOVB provides a great professional complement for those athletes and others to continue their careers and our coverage of both them and the sport.  We feel their growth model is an excellent one and are excited to partner with this great organization.”

Beyond the matches, ESPN will also highlight LOVB athletes through storytelling during its extensive coverage of the fall NCAA season, which will lead into LOVB’s inaugural pro season, beginning in early January 2025.

In addition to airing LOVB action in the U.S., ESPN match telecasts will be available on ESPN platforms in select countries and territories around the globe including Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Australia/New Zealand.  

 This coming June, ESPN will be available on Disney+ in Latin America and later this year in the United States, a new ESPN hub will be added to Disney+, allowing access to ESPN+ content in a similar fashion to the recent Hulu On Disney+ launch.

Are you looking forward to watching LOVB on ESPN?  Let us know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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