The 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League season begins Tuesday, August 2 with no sign of English-language coverage in the United States. FOX Sports’ most recent contract for the CONCACAF Champions League ran from 2012-13 season to 2015-16. There are currently no listings for any matches on any of the FOX Sports channels or their streaming site FOX Soccer 2Go.
Keep in mind that CONCACAF are coming off a huge corruption scandal that saw the last two presidents of the Confederation – Jeffrey Webb and Alfredo Hawitt – arrested. In May 2016, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) was awarded exclusive sponsorship rights to CONCACAF events through 2021. They took over from Traffic Sports who were directly linked to the scandal. This may explain the delay in English-language rights being awarded. For this summer’s Copa America Centenario, SUM went with IMG for the TV distribution and will likely partner with them for CONCACAF Champions League rights as well. But with this year’s tournament only a day away, its very strange not seeing listings for the matches on any English-language network. The situation also brings up a big question, could FOX Sports lose the rights and we see another network become the home of the CCL?
Spanish-language rights are not in question as Univision signed a 10-year deal back in 2012 that sees them holding the rights to the CONCACAF Champions League all the way through the 2021-22 season. This means that US soccer fans will still be able to follow the MLS participants of this year’s tournament – Portland Timbers, Sporting KC, Vancouver Whitecaps, NY Red Bull & FC Dallas – on the Univision Networks as well as streamed live and on-demand via fuboTV and Sling TV.
Ed Perovic is the publisher of soccertvblog.com – a source for schedules and US TV information for major European Leagues and International competitions.
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