USL Announces Regular Season Expansion
US Club Board of Governors approves 34-game schedule, a 31-week season for 2018.
A league on the rise, the USL has more than doubled in size since 2014, with Ottawa Fury FC, Reno 1868 FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies debuting in 2017. Nashville SC and Fresno Football Club are set to join the league for 2018. Beyond league play, the USL regularly features international exhibitions against leading Premier League, Liga MX, and Bundesliga clubs, among others.
The United Soccer League (USL) is one of the most prominent Division II leagues in the world, just announced this week the league’s regular season will expand to 34 games per team in the 2018 season, and the regular season will be extended to 31 weeks.
The decision was approved by the USL Board of Governors on Wednesday at the league’s Mid-Season Meetings in Chicago. The move will see the USL regular season surpass 500 total games for the first time in its history.
“We are very pleased the Board of Governors has approved the decision to expand the USL regular season to 34 games per club,” said USL President Jake Edwards.
“The league’s commitment to club services, broadcast and various strategic initiatives combined with the continued investment of our owners into the clubs have produced record attendance this season,” said Edwards. “An additional home match now provides a significant revenue opportunity as attendance continues to grow.
“Next year’s expanded season, highlighted by three new clubs that will join the USL in 2018, will deliver even more first-class soccer excitement to even more fans across North America.”
The USL also announced it would retain the current two-conference format for the 2018 season and the 16-team playoff structure across the two conferences. The league’s alignment for the new season will be announced at a future date.
The 2018 USL regular season is expected to kick off on the weekend of March 16-18, with the 31-week regular season set to conclude on the weekend of Oct. 12-14.
The 2018 USL Cup Playoffs would then kick off between Oct. 19-21, with the 2018 USL Cup Final set for the weekend of Nov. 9-11.
The USL is one of the most prominent Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, with 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces for the 2017 season.
In total, the USL reaches a population of 75 million people, fueling the growth of professional soccer across North America.
In 2016, more than $100 million was invested league-wide into stadium infrastructure to create venues that deliver an unforgettable fan and competitor experience. The USL has national media partnerships with ESPN and SiriusXM, and recently invested $10 million to create USL Productions – which includes a state-of-the-art facility that will produce and distribute nearly 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners, local affiliates, USL’s Match Center and international markets.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., the USL provides unparalleled club support with a growing team of more than 50 professionals across 17 departments, ranging from operations to marketing, communications and sponsorship. Follow the USL at USLSoccer.com, the USL Match Center, and on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Source: USL Press release