In soccer TV and Internet rights news, FOX Sports has sublicensed select UEFA Champions League matches to ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com for the matches scheduled next week.
The playoff games will be split between FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, FOX regional sports networks, FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Soccer 2GO and FOX Sports Go. The most significant development is the inclusion of ESPN3.com. This means that soccer fans without DirecTV and their overflow channels, which show the matches not on the main FOX channels (and now ESPN Deportes), will have access to these matches.
Here’s the schedule of just the playoff games that ESPN will show live:
Tuesday, August 19:
2:45pm ET Napoli v Athletic Bilbao (ESPN Deportes)
2:45pm ET FC Salzburg v Malmo FF (espn3.com)
2:45pm ET Steaua Bucharest v PFC Ludogorets (espn3.com)
Wednesday, August 20:
2:45pm ET Lille v FC Porto (ESPN Deportes)
2:45pm ET Slovan Bratislava v BATE Borisov (espn3.com)
2:45pm ET Aalborg AK v APOEL (espn3.com)
2:45pm ET Standard Liege v Zenit St Petersburg (espn3.com)
Unlike the Europa League arrangement, which sees exclusive Spanish-language coverage on ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes will continue showing Champions League action.
In other soccer TV rights news:
• GolTV takes one step forward after two steps back.
The start of the 2014-15 seasons has now seen GolTV lose two soccer properties: The Eredivisie, which they sublicensed from ESPN (whose rights expired) — and now has no home on US TV or Internet — and the Argentine Primera División, which simply disappeared from GolTV’s schedule.
Over the past 2 seasons, GolTV showed a single match from the Argentine top division – alternating between River Plate & Boca Juniors matches. But this week comes news that GolTV will pick up Benfica home matches from the Portuguese Primeira Liga. The first match will air this Sunday at 7:00pm ET and feature Benfica v Pacos Ferreira (same day delay). The match is shown on delay because of a conflict with a Brasileiro match during the afternoon. It’s been years since we have had English/Spanish language coverage of the Primeira. Other matches from the league will be exclusive to Sport-TV Americas, which is re-launching its brand in the US and Canada this weekend but has no distribution on any cable or satellite providers at this time. Sport-TV Americas will be available to bars and restaurants via Premium Sports as well as via streaming to residential customers. More details at http://www.premiumsports.tv/premusa/.
• Argentina soccer games available in the USA
Speaking of the Argentine Primera, you’re not limited to watching matches on TyCSports
only in the US. Check out the official AFA YouTube channel, which shows all of the
Primera Division matches live. Just tune in close to or at kickoff (when there are no
matches scheduled, the page is dedicated to highlights) and enjoy the free coverage. The
channel is not country specific so it is legally available to viewers in the US. Last
weekend, I hooked up a HDMI cable directly from my computer to the TV and the picture
quality was better than TyCSports on DirecTV!