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Leagues: Champions League

Bidding begins for US rights to Champions League

It only seemed like yesterday Turner Sports acquired the English-language rights to the UEFA Champions League in the US market, but despite just being in year two of a three-year rights cycle, the bidding for the next round of Champions League and Europa League rights — for 2021 to 2024 — are already underway.

According to UEFA, the bidding for the UEFA Champions League will also include rights to the UEFA Super Cup. Meanwhile, the rights to the UEFA Europa League are being sold separately, which will include the rights to UEFA’s brand-new competition named the UEFA Europa Conference League.

And it’s not only the bidding for the English-language rights that are happening. The Spanish-language rights to the competition are also an item of interest especially given Univision’s successful launch last season when it was the most-watched edition in the competition’s history on U.S. television, regardless of language, reaching nearly 22.2 million viewers.

UEFA added that the sales process will be administered on behalf of UEFA by TEAM Marketing, UEFA’s exclusive marketing agency for the selling of media and commercial rights relating to its club competitions. The deadline for media companies to bid on the rights is November 5, 2019.

World Soccer Talk contacted Turner Sports and Univision/TUDN to ask about their interest in renewing their rights, but both declined to comment.

Asked about ESPN+’s level of interest in the Champions League, ESPN executive Scott Guglielmino said: “We continue to build out the portfolio of sport that we have across ESPN and certainly Champions League and Europa League are world class properties and represent a unique opportunity. They would certainly make great compliments to the Bundesliga and Serie A that we already have,” he told SportBusiness.

Under their current deal, Turner and Univision’s rights to the UEFA Champions League will end at the close of the 2020/21 season.

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  1. Ritchie

    November 8, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    CBS and univision land the UCL for 2021, according to the SBJ.

  2. Derbyday

    November 8, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Shocker: CBS and Univision win UEFA Champions League rights. SBD has the story.

    • Derbyday

      November 8, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      “Sources peg the average annual value of the three-year deal at around $150M combined; though it is not known how much each network is paying. The previous rights holders, Turner and Univision, were paying close to $100M per year combined. CBS picked up the UCL’s English-language rights and plans to carry games on its broadcast channel, CBSSN cable network and CBS All-Access OTT platform.”

      • Derbyday

        November 8, 2019 at 2:47 pm

        Careful what you wish for. Get ready to pay $9.99 a month for CBS All Access!

        • ToffeeFever

          November 11, 2019 at 10:11 am

          $5.99 with commercials

        • Ilya

          November 11, 2019 at 6:50 pm

          That better deal than BR/live for the same price. Plus I get to watch few of their shows works for me.

  3. Dan

    November 7, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I could see it going either way for Turner. B/R Live doesn’t really have enough to be a great value proposition, and airing Champions League games on TNT doesn’t seem like an ideal fit for it schedule-wise and probably ratings-wise (except the biggest games). But if Turner is making money so far, then they’ll want to keep it at the right price.

    Univision shouldn’t have to worry unless someone makes a combined English/Spanish offer that is really big. Not really thinking NBC or ESPN is super-likely to do that, when they could’ve had this current deal and didn’t make serious bids.

  4. Brendan

    October 24, 2019 at 4:18 am

    ESPN is the perfect fit very experienced analysis they have on ESPNFC even if they are forbidden to show highlights , TNT are just not up to it dull boring and Kate Abdo pathetic anchor is horrible

    • Tayo

      October 28, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Yea I was really surprised Turner Sports did not let them show the highlights on ESPNFC

  5. Jasinho

    October 23, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    If ESPN wins, we get Ian Darke and Steve McManaman back on a regular basis, at least I think.
    The group stage matches can go on Plus, the knockout stages can be simulcast onto ESPN cable channels with plus having the replays, then ABC showing the final would be perfect. It’ll be almost reminiscent of when ESPN was showing the World Cup and give the Champions League the respect it deserves.

    The reason being that during the fall is a bit saturated between American football and others whereas the springtime it isn’t as much of the case.

    And we all know that Univision does a stand up job with their coverage.

    • Eddie

      October 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      What about Univision and TUDN?
      This could mean they might renew the Spanish TV Package for how long.

    • Yespage

      October 28, 2019 at 11:51 am

      It is possible, but Disney is suffering from overpaying for exclusive rights. They’ve been lately buying up cheaper rights. One would think Champions League is too rich for $5 a month ESPN+.

  6. Alex

    October 23, 2019 at 10:49 am

    TNT CL has been a disaster

  7. Rick

    October 23, 2019 at 12:52 am

    ESPN is the solution and put the Chapions league Final on ABC network.

  8. Mel

    October 22, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    I don’t care. I have my own ways for watching all the games

  9. Anthony

    October 22, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    ESPN would actually be a good fit here – they can broadcast live matches on ESPN2/ESPN and put the rest on ESPN+. Final on ESPN.

    • Eddie

      October 22, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      It might put ABC of UEFA Final if they win the rights package of ESPN.

  10. Greg C

    October 22, 2019 at 11:07 am

    I hope ESPN+ gets this. No other reason then I’m sadistic and want to see the meltdown on here and the podcast

    • Eddie

      October 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      What about NBC Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Univision, and Telemundo. Are the networks are interested in getting the UEFA tv rights?

      • Eddie

        October 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm

        Turner sports might renew I’m not quite sure

    • Edwin

      October 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      I like how you think lol

  11. Eddie

    October 22, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Who’s bidding the tv rights?

  12. JP

    October 22, 2019 at 9:23 am

    If Plus did get the rights you’d hope they would carve out time on their schedule to show a couple matches on linear TV each fixture date. 1PM and 3PM afternoons, no reason they couldn’t. Use Plus for the overflow matches much like B/R Live is now and Fox did with Matchpass. However, wouldn’t expect much in terms of pre/post coverage if they even did that, would be an immediate cut to PTI or Around The Horn or something once the final whistle blows.

    • Karl

      October 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      Don’t think you’d see UCL on “main ESPN” unless it was a very big matchup like Barca vs. Man United, outside of a big matchup the numbers would, unfortunately, likely be worse than NFL Live and The Jump (NBA). Could easily see them on ESPN2 (whose afternoon programming is largely reruns of ESPN shows from earlier in the day) and ESPNews (which is just ESPN Radio on TV during the day) with everything else including a postgame ESPNFC on ESPN+. UCL final on ABC would definitely be in play.

      I think a lot of people are also underestimating how the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ offering will likely be as ubiquitous as Netflix in 2-3 years’ time and how ESPN+, in particular, has been gathering soccer properties that individually don’t move the needle much but in aggregate could be the only place for all UEFA (club and country) events, Bundesliga, Serie A, and MLS, and even that is assuming they don’t go all-in on poaching EPL from NBC.

      • DT

        October 22, 2019 at 3:55 pm

        I have Hulu & ESPN+ and would prefer ESPN+ to the awful TNT having UEFA CL rights, but if anything people are overestimating Disney. They make too much money from their TV/cable channels to screw them and the prizes in their rights catalogs for Disney+ are children’s programming/films and action franchises which are the two categories that people still rush out to see in the movie theaters and continue to buy physical copies or digitally at home. R-rated or adult type programming would have to go on Hulu, which they own but is still a separate service. So you are talking about about a company trying to become a essential streaming service like Netflix (which has already started to have people question its usefulness) but with 3 different streaming services (hulu, espn+. disney+), all of which are under priced before to try to hike, while still having to/making sure that people need to continue to subscribe to their regular channels. This is at the same time that any company even with the most limited or crap rights catalogs are setting up their own streaming service.

  13. Steve

    October 22, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Go back to regular TV please, no streaming. Streaming will NEVER be better than a solid cable or satellite feed , well until internet speeds, connections, phones become much better.

    • Rodeojones

      October 22, 2019 at 10:02 am

      Television viewing is no longer traditional and people are leaving cable and satellite by the droves. Streaming is here and only growing.

    • Barry

      October 22, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Steve, I used to feel the same way you do but recently I upgraded my wifi system as well as my chromecast device and now I cannot see any difference in picture quality on my TV between a cast from my phone and a Directv satellite feed. The one exception to that is Bein sports, whose stream looks fine on my desktop but is markedly degraded when cast to my TV.

    • Nelson Arblaster

      November 1, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      I have a large 4K screen and had Directv and Fubo and Hulu all at the same time. Both streaming services had superior picture quality while watching sports.

  14. Trip

    October 22, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I’d love to know what are the streaming numbers for all this content? Are they really that much better than showing over tv channels? While it’s all about money, this only hurts the sport than helps it, people who are on the fence aren’t going to buy ESPN+ or NBC Gold or other streaming channels, they’ll simply watch another sport. Maybe this is what makes MLS popular, all the top-tier leagues are behind paywalls and only MLS is left standing on ESPN. Hopefully NBC Sports continues to see how popular the premier league is and won’t move all their content there.

    • Edwin

      October 22, 2019 at 9:55 am

      The thing the viewining audiences for those top -tier leagues outside EPL were minimal thats how they got paywalled. It’s not a coincidence that the top 3 most accessible leagues are the top 3 most viewed. Liga MX/EPL/MLS.
      The TV industry over the last 20 yrs has found its more profitable to put soccer behind a paywall and make money via the subscriber model vs losing/to making very little profit on TV.

    • Rodeojones

      October 22, 2019 at 10:00 am

      MLS isn’t popular and the numbers bare that out.

      • Edwin

        October 22, 2019 at 11:21 am

        Ohh jeez its provable what I said the numbers bare this out. The issue is too many refuse to believe this then turn around and act surprise that generally unpopular leagues with the broader US viewing public (outside the soccer bubble) get put behind paywalls. There is one Top tier I repeat 1 top tier Euro League that is more popular than MLS and it happens to be the best league in the world EPL.

      • Edwin

        October 24, 2019 at 9:36 am

        By your logic if MLS isn’t popular all the other Big Euro leagues like Bundesliga/Serie A/La Liga / Ligue one must be despised because those leagues have way lower numbers than MLS here in the US. FACTS!!

        Some of you guys crack me when you make some of your comments on here and act like you EVEN KNOW what your talking about. Just because you think you no something research it before you speak on it. GOOGLE is your friend and when you research look up several sources and compare them then speak on it.

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