Turner Sports and Champions League FAQ: Big changes for US soccer fans

Turner Sports has revealed more details regarding their coverage plans for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for sports fans in the United States.

And as we predicted in May, there are big changes.

In order to try to parse through all of the questions, I’ve written the following FAQ to help. If there are any questions not answered below, feel free to let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to update the article to make it even more comprehensive.

Q: First, what’s the news? What do I need to know?

A: In acquiring the US English-language TV and streaming rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, Turner Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of those games from the summer of 2018 through until the end of the 2021 season.

The most recent news it that Turner Sports has announced that more than 80% of games will be available via an over-the-top (OTT) paid-subscription streaming service, while fewer than 20% of games will be on TV each season.

The semi-finals and final of the Champions League will air on TBS or TNT. The Europa League final will air on TNT or TBS.

Turner’s UEFA Champions League coverage will include four live telecasts each week throughout the Group Stage (September through early December) – Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET – and two televised matches per week during the Knockout Phase (beginning in February) – Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m. ET.

Q: Wait, what happened to the 2:45pm ET kickoff times?

A: Starting with the 2018/19 season, UEFA will have double-headers where there will no longer be games at 2:45pm ET. Instead, games will be scheduled for 1pm and 3pm ET on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the UEFA Champions League.

Q: What happened to FOX? Why won’t they have coverage?

A: FOX Sports lost the rights to the UEFA Champions League for the 2018/19 to 2020/21 seasons. FOX’s 2017/18 season will be their last as the broadcaster for the Champions League and Europa League in the United States.

Q: How many games does Fox actually air right now? During the group stage, I seem to remember they only provide 2-3 games a day.

A: On big matchdays, FOX usually has 4-5 games on via FS1, FS2, FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Sports Net and FOX Deportes. But they also sub-license games to ESPN, which air them on ESPN2 — so there can be as many as 6-7 games aired each gameday.

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