CBS Sports has acquired the US rights to the UEFA Champions League for seasons 2021/22 to 2023/24, according to a report in Sports Business Daily.
After years of soccer coverage by the leading sports networks in the United States including NBC, ABC and FOX, CBS Sports was the only one of The Big Four to purposely avoid acquiring rights to the most popular sport in the world. And now it appears that finally CBS is into soccer.
In the history of soccer on US television, CBS was a notable broadcaster from 1967 to 1976 when it televised the North American Soccer League (NASL).
The current rights holders to the UEFA Champions League are Turner Sports and Univision. If the report about CBS is confirmed, it means that TNT will no longer broadcast the Champions League after the end of the 2020/21 season. Meanwhile, it’s being reported that Univision has successfully renewed the Spanish-language rights to the UEFA Champions League through 2024.
According to Sports Business Daily, sources estimate that CBS and Univision are paying an average annual value of $150 million combined for the rights to the competition (for 2021 through 2024).
A source to World Soccer Talk said that CBS Sports paid $110 million/year for the rights.
Expectations are that CBS will broadcast the UEFA Champions League across the over-the-air CBS channel, CBS Sports Network and the CBS All-Access over-the-top streaming service.
With these changes, it’ll mean that the best European soccer leagues and competitions will be televised across NBC (Premier League), beIN SPORTS (LaLiga) and ESPN+ (Bundesliga and Serie A). FOX Sports will continue to broadcast the FIFA World Cup tournament, while ESPN will televise the European Championship.