International Swimming League Signs Multi-Year Media Rights Agreement With CBS Sports

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The International Swimming League (ISL) announced a multi-year media rights agreement with CBS Sports on Thursday to showcase the league’s events across CBS Sports platforms to the American audience, according to a release sent out by the league.

The ISL, which debuted in 2019 on ESPN’s online streaming platform ESPN3, will hold its second season in Budapest, Hungary starting October 16 and will last only five weeks, due to concerns over the current COVID-19 pandemic with a strict medical protocol in place to ensure safety for all competitors and working staff. The ISL Grand Finals location and dates will be announced separately.

Swimmers will be tested twice for Covid-19 before leaving their country of origin and then twice in Budapest before they can be cleared to train with athletes to be tested every five days.

ISL competition will take place without spectators with five matches in October starting on 16 of that month.

That will be followed by a further five from 15 November to decide the top eight teams who will qualify for the semi-finals held from 19-22 November.

The top four will then progress to the final to be held in late December – date to be confirmed – and with Tokyo as the desired destination.

Current schedule:

  • October 16: 10:00am- 12:00pm ET live on CBS Sports Network
  • October 17: 2:00-4:00pm ET live on CBS Television Network

CBS Sports will present the entire 2020 ISL season of 13 events, 52 hours in total, live across various platforms. The remainder of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

International Swimming League Founder and Chairman, Konstantin Grigorishin, commented

“We are thrilled with this partnership and the commitment made by CBS to air all ISL events live to its North American audience. From the beginning, the team at CBS really impressed us with their understanding of our vision. This partnership will provide a wonderful platform to showcase the world’s best swimmers, female and male, challenging each other in the most entertaining competitive format ever created in the sport.”

“We are pleased to add International Swimming League to the CBS Sports portfolio with live swimming across various platforms,” said CBS Sports Executive Vice President of Programming Dan Weinberg. “ISL’s exciting team-based competitions, featuring the world’s top swimmers, is a great fit for CBS Sports and we look forward to bringing the action to swim fans across the country.”

The International Swimming League consists of ten teams: defending champs Energy Standard, London Roar, Cali Condors, LA Current, Team Iron, DC Trident, Aqua Centurions and the New York Breakers, along with two new teams in the Tokyo Frog Kings and the Toronto Titans.

International Swimming League rule changes include a twist to the skins – a series of back-to-back races which operate on a knockout basis, with the two remaining swimmers racing each other in a head-to-head final.

  • This season the head coach of the winning men’s and women’s 4x100m medley relays will choose which stroke will be contested. For example, should London Roar be in pole position, they could look to the presence of Adam Peaty and Kirill Prigoda and select breaststroke whereas last year it was only freestyle.
  • So too will there be points awarded after each round of the skins, another new innovation.
  • Another addition is the jackpot time rule. Jackpot times are determined in advance: for instance, 1.35secs in the men’s 100 free. If the winner touches in 45secs, all those who are slower than 46.35 forfeit their points to the man who stopped the clock first.

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Breezeway

    Is this a free platform?

    • avatar
      Andy Ross

      looks like it will be on national TV on October 17.

      • avatar
        Nancy Deiss

        I hear the meet will be live-screened. Is this true? Please publish the date and times the full meet can be watched in the US and whether on CBS or CBS Sports.

        Thanks!!! LA Current fan

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