Biggest winners and losers from new UEFA Champions League TV coverage in U.S.
This season’s UEFA Champions League tournament will be the biggest change for soccer fans in the United States since the games moved from ESPN to FOX Sports in 2009.
The big changes mean that there are some big winners and losers. Here’s our breakdown of who will win and lose based on the massive changes:
1. UEFA. While there will be far fewer Champions League games on English-language television in the United States, the biggest winner will be UEFA courtesy of many games being televised on the over-the-air Univision channel. The network has an estimated national reach of 182,330,440 Americans, making Univision the largest U.S. broadcast television network by total market reach.
That will translate into massive TV ratings for the Spanish-language broadcaster. And looking at the schedule for the first week of the UEFA Champions League coverage, the prognosis looks good given that the games will feature Barcelona-PSV, Real Madrid-Roma and Liverpool-PSG.
The end result should be record-breaking TV viewing numbers for UEFA in the United States.
2. Spanish-speakers (and bilinguals). Starting this season, the UEFA Champions League has moved from sporadic coverage on FOX Deportes and ESPN Deportes to more games on Spanish-language TV than ever before. Under the new deal, at times there’ll be up to four UEFA Champions League matches airing on TV at the same time on different Spanish-league channels: Univision (simulcast on Univision Deportes), UniMas and Galavision.
Whether you’re a Spanish-speaker or not, Univision is the go-to destination for the UEFA Champions League on TV.
3. Soccer fans. On each matchday, the UEFA Champions League will now feature double-headers beginning at 12:55pm ET and 3pm ET. That translates into more opportunities to watch live Champions League matches than ever before instead of, like in the past, picking and choosing which 2:45pm ET kickoff to watch.
More soccer is always a good thing especially when it comes to the UEFA Champions League.
4. fuboTV subscribers. Out of all of the legal streaming services available, fuboTV has a significant advantage in that it includes all of the TNT and Univision TV channels streaming the UEFA Champions League games as well as access to Univision Now so you can stream whichever games you can’t see on TV. fuboTV offers a free 7-day trial.
Unfortunately, Sling TV is in a dispute with Univision so none of the Univision channels are available via the popular streaming service. None of the Univision channels (including Galavision) are available on PlayStation Vue. And YouTube TV still isn’t available nationwide.
One alternative is to subscribe to a TV or streaming provider that offers TNT, and then subscribe to B/R Live separately for $9.99 per month.
1. Manchester United fans. When was the last time a Manchester United UEFA Champions League match was not televised in the United States? In previous rights cycles, the worst that United supporters had to experience was a match on FS2, which in itself was a rarity. But the first Manchester United Champions League game of the 2018/19 season won’t be shown live on television anywhere in the United States — not on TNT nor the Univision networks. The only option is to stream the game.
2. Non-streamers. If you don’t have a reliable Internet connection, you’re unfortunately going to miss out on a lot of Champions League soccer this season. But if you have a TV and a WiFi or hard-wired Internet connection, consider the following tips on how to stream games to your TV.
3. Pubs and bars across the country. In previous years, finding pubs and bars that showed Champions League games on their TV sets was pretty straightforward. Most establishments had FS1 and FS2. But now pubs, bars and supporters groups nationwide will need to be doing their homework ahead of games to see if they even get some of the channels that will air the games.