FOX Emerges As Likely Winner of UEFA Champions League US Media Rights for 2015-18, Says Source

uefa champions league trophy FOX Emerges As Likely Winner of UEFA Champions League US Media Rights for 2015 18, Says Source

FOX Sports has emerged as the likely winner of the US media rights to the 2015-18 UEFA Champions League, according to a report Sports Business Daily.

Sources have revealed to SBJ that FOX will be revealed as the winner as early as today, beating NBC Sports, beIN SPORT and Univision for the rights. ESPN did not submit a bid. However, if FOX Sports wins, FOX may sub-license some of the rights to ESPN, as World Soccer Talk predicted earlier this week.

Sources said Fox’ bid is significantly below the $83M per year NBC Sports pays for EPL rights.

Read: Who will win the US media rights to UEFA Champions League for 2015-18.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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20 Responses to FOX Emerges As Likely Winner of UEFA Champions League US Media Rights for 2015-18, Says Source

  1. Chris says:

    ughhh i hate their fox soccer 2 go and I’m just over their analysts. grown extremely stale and was really hoping NBC would win it, guess they don’t have the money to really outbid them with paying big money for EPL rights.

    really disappointed

  2. Morocco Mole says:

    Not a surprise to see FOX win US rights to the UCL in both English and Spanish because:

    1. ESPN had no incentive to bid on its own in either language (with the World Cups 2018 and 2022 headed for FOX and Telemundo.)

    2. beIN did NOT have the necessary distribution that UEFA was looking for

    3. Univision Deportes Network already has hours upon hours of Mexican Futbol talk shows from Televisa so it had no reason to bid big for any weekday programming including UCL

    4. UCL doesn’t provide enough programming for NBC Sports Network (especially on weekends) to justify bidding big

    The $100m/season figure floated by UEFA was pure nonsense considering that FOX reportedly bid $13m/season in March 2009 (for 2009-2012) and re-upped for not much more than that (i.e. less than $20m/season) in 2010 (for 2012-2015). I didn’t believe that anyone in the U.S. would bid even close to $60m/season, which would be the upper limit of sanity.

    What will UEFA do with US rights to the EL, especially in Spanish, as we know that the EL is filler and FOX didn’t care for the EL in Spanish?

    • Gman says:

      Any guess as to what fox brings in revenue wise via the foxsoccer2go platform? Interesting that it goes contrary to the tv everywhere current model….

  3. Cantona says:

    Gutted right now… Continued amateur treatment of the games finest domestic product. I hope ESPN can wrangle a few matches away from them to include the big ones at the end of the season and the final so we don’t have to listen to their dim witted faux pet celebrity Gus Johnson. I guess I’ll be hunting down the BT Sport feed.

    Another thing, Fox won’t be able to pipe thru the Sky Sports Feed either… There won’t be one… All will go to BT Sport. I hope they won’t ruin the Champions league like they do with the Europa League.. With their booting hacks.

    Sad sad day…

    Cantona—

    • Morocco Mole says:

      In case you haven’t figured out already:

      1. FOX is using the EL to audition announcers for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. That’s why the likes of Glenn Davis and Shep Messing are calling EL matches. The EL is filler programming that averages less than 50K viewers for each live match on FS1, and less than 10K viewers for each live match on FS2 (in other words, few if anyone are watching the EL.)

      2. Gus won’t be shipped by FOX to Europe to call UCL matches on FS1 (and the final on FOX) until AFTER the new Big East Conference basketball tournament in mid-March.

      3. Depending on what happens with the UCL rights in Asia ex-Japan and Australia, the BSkyB voices might yet show up on FOX Sports networks around the world even though there will be no coverage on BSkyB. FOX can always pay BSkyB voices to call the matches from London and pipe those voices to The Woodlands, Texas (FOX Cable [USA] Tech Center); Singapore (FOX Sports Asia HQ); and Sydney.

      • Cantona says:

        I figured the crews we are seeing now on the EL will be the ones eventually on the World Cup… My fear is they start appearing on Champions League Matches “to give them credibility” for when they do World Cup games. I know Gus shows up after his basketball gig is up, but those are the most important matches of the tournament. I don’t think Eric Shanks really cares about the Champions League.. His focus is the World Cup… And that’s why it’s sad that Fox has won the rights again.

        Cantona—

        • Morocco Mole says:

          Honestly, did you expect anyone other than FOX to win the U.S. rights to the CL in both English and Spanish?

          1. ESPN wasn’t expected by anyone to bid

          2. beIN didn’t have the distribution

          3. NBC already has too much soccer and had no reason to put in a big bid

          4. Univision Deportes didn’t need it (because it has talk shows from Televisa)

          5. mun2 didn’t need it

          In the end, FOX was basically bidding against itself…

  4. Tayo says:

    I am really upset. This is sad news for soccer fans in the United States

  5. Morocco Mole says:

    One person I do not envy right now:

    Don Garber

    How will he get the targeted $40-50m/season for MLS starting 2015, knowing that ESPN is not likely to bid much (if anything)?

    Garber will have to convince FOX and NBC to engage in a bidding war, which is unlikely to happen since both FOX and NBC should know by now that ESPN probably will NOT be a factor.

  6. Rick says:

    ESPN should have a 24 hour soccer channel. There are enough viewers. Looks like they are moving away from soccer after 2014 world cup which makes no sense. The sport is growing not declining like baseball or hockey.

  7. EPLNFL says:

    Fox was a expected winner true enough but what worries me is if ESPN has a commitment to soccer. I think USMNT fans all agree that their coverage has been top rate especially the last year or two of the US team.

    I am still of the opinion that of all the major US networks Fox is the worst by way of production values. Let’s see if ESPN does decide to join in with Fox and see if the world wide leader promotes the worlds favorite sport.

  8. Rick says:

    Fox retains the rights; not surprising, it’s a property worth more to them than the other networks. Now has for the FA Cup, it could start a bidding war between NBC and Fox because those are weekend games that can be reasonably viewed stateside, which is when they need the programming. With that being said, with the exception of the MLS contract, no more major properties to grab football-wise for a while. Will ESPN football coverage go the way of their NHL coverage? Time will tell, but the effects of the college realignment is starting to show at the Mothership.

    • Morocco Mole says:

      The Mothership (TM) will lose:

      NASCAR after 2014 (to NBC)

      USGA Golf after 2014 (to FOX)

      FIFA events after 2014 (to FOX)

      Few if anyone in the industry expect The WorldWide Leader (TM) to keep the primary MLS/USSF deal after 2014.

      (Note that ESPN has been sublicensing US Women’s National Team friendlies to FOX during the past year, with permission of USSF and SUM.)

      Remember that ESPN’s #1 priority is all about maintaining SportsCenter as its profit center. To achieve that goal, the company needs only a handful of live core products:

      1. Monday Night NFL
      2. College Football (5 major conferences and 90% of the bowl games including the 4-team playoff)
      3. College Basketball (5 major conferences)
      4. Sunday and Monday Night MLB

      Everything else is complementary (i.e. filler).

      I would not be surprised if the NBA were to jump to FOX in 2016.

      (The “international synergy” argument for the NBA also favors FOX over ESPN, now that FOX owns 100% of FOX Sports Asia Ltd., the outfit formerly known as ESS.)

      • Len F says:

        The NBA is filler? I am not an NBA fan but it is the only competition in the US other than the NFL and College football that has any sort of significant national following. MLB and College Basketball are important to ESPN but the strength of their audience is primarily regional. They are are not nearly as important to ESPN’s brand as the NBA. I’m not saying that FOX won’t try to outbid them but that is one of the competitions that ESPN will overpay for to maintain it’s brand dominance. The NBA is in an incredible position with their next contract because either FOX or ESPN is going to overpay it.

        • Morocco Mole says:

          Unless the NBA were to create a 3rd package, FOX will likely throw enough money at the NBA to outbid either ESPN or Turner Sports (Time Warner).

          Turner Sports will turn into a “boutique operation” if it were to lose the NBA. Not to mention that Time Warner will take a big hit because the subscriber fees for TNT will drop like a rock without the NBA.

          Bottom like: FOX and Turner both need the NBA more than ESPN does.

          (FOX needs more big time sports to boost FOX Sports 1. Besides the NBA, the NFL is the other obvious target. The NFL reportedly is considering a Thursday night doubleheader each week so that it can sell one game to FOX Sports 1 and keep the other game on NFL Network.)

          • Casey G says:

            Even tho its not going to happen (due to scheduling conflict with NHL games and now NASCAR on sundays) i’d love to see NBC bid on NBA to bring that nostalgia back with the glory days of hearing John Tesh’s Roundball Rock with the NBAonNBC, ah the memories!

          • Casey G says:

            and don’t forget that Turner Sports operates NBA TV from their studios so that’s a key factor in the bidding process, should chose not resign with Turner (can’t see that happening because of that.)

  9. Proud Eurosnob says:

    I only see one upside to this and that is the partnership with DirecTV would likely continue. But screamin’ Gus and their joke of a production is in dire need of an overhaul. Perhaps they could learn a thing or two under ESPN’s tutelage of how they treat the World Cup and apply the same principles to the UCL and eventually the WC.

    I am sick and tired of the hideous blue bar scrolling at the bottom while the match is ongoing. I don’t see ESPN doing so (at least not much anymore) while they broadcast the NFL, NBA, and MLB so why is it still necessary while instantaneous information is readily available with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and laptops?

    /rant

  10. thyname says:

    I certainly hope beIN does not get the rights. My cable provider does not carry any of their channels (Cox). I have DishWorld subscription, but it is not the same as having it on your cable lineup.

    I would prefer NBC winning the rights, simply because of their brilliant coverage of EPL. Fox will be OK, but I don’t get Fox Sports 2 in HD, only on SD. Cox sucks!

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