Turner Sports have followed through on their promise to only broadcast one UEFA Champions League match per gameday for the knockout stages of the competition that begins on February 12.
While it’s often a dilemma for soccer fans to decide which game to watch in the Knockout Round because they’re both played at the same time each matchday, TNT has made the decision for you.
Instead of featuring the showcase game on TNT and using one of their other TV networks to broadcast the other match — like FOX Sports did with games on FS1 and FS2 — you’ll only get to see one game on TV.
To date, Turner Sports has only televised Champions League games on TNT, and have resisted the temptation to use their other TV networks to show games (although one of their executives recently admitted to World Soccer Talk that it could be a possibility in the future).
When the Champions League returns to action on February 12, TNT has elected to broadcast Manchester United against Paris Saint-Germain instead of AS Roma-Porto FC. And on the following day, it’ll be Spurs-Dortmund instead of Ajax-Real Madrid, which will certainly upset the legions of Madridistas in the United States.
Of course, all of the matches will be available via Turner’s Bleacher Report streaming service — as well as in Spanish on the Univision Deportes networks, but TNT’s decision to stick to its commitment of televising one match per day in the Knockout Round is going to upset a lot of soccer fans.
The decision to select Man United-PSG and Spurs-Dortmund instead of Roma-Porto and Ajax-Real Madrid won’t generate tidal waves of angst, but the challenge for TNT will be on other matchdays in the Round of 16.
For example, should TNT choose to televise:
• Liverpool-Bayern Munich or Lyon-Barcelona on February 19?
• Atletico Madrid-Juventus or Schalke-Manchester City on February 20?
So far, it appears that TNT is electing to broadcast the matches featuring the Premier League teams on matchdays while the more Spanish-centric teams such as Real Madrid and Barcelona are favored on the Univision channels.
The big question for Turner Sports and Bleacher Report is this, however. Is B/R Live ready to handle the surge of traffic in the Round of 16 from fans wanting to stream games? B/R Live has encountered huge problems with NBA Pass and the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson golf event.
As of press time, here’s the preliminary TV schedule for the next round of the UEFA Champions League (all kickoff times listed are in the Eastern United States timezone):
Tuesday, February 12
Wednesday, February 13
Ajax vs. Real Madrid (UEFA Champions League Round of 16), 3pm, Univision Deportes Network, B/R Live and fuboTV (free trial)