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CBS acquires UEFA Champions League rights

According to a report from Sports Business Daily, CBS acquires UEFA Champions League rights in the U.S. through the 2023/24 season.

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.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Champions League games on US TV and streaming

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.

MORE COVERAGE: What we know so far about CBS and Univision acquiring Champions League rights

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Yespage

    November 11, 2019 at 9:49 am

    TNT coverage hasn’t been that great. So now the question remains will we be pining for the days of TNT having the rights to the Champions League after CBS has its way with it.

  2. Eddie

    November 11, 2019 at 8:48 am

    What’s the plan for CBS Sports for UEFA champions league tv coverage in 2 years.

  3. Jasinho

    November 9, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I’ll reserve judgement. I had the same type of reaction when NBC obtained the rights to the Premier league but before I knew it, things turned out beautifully there.

    Ive always liked the production quality of CBS with American Football and the NCAA tournament, I also enjoy their CBS Sports HQ and CBS News 24/7 on Apple TV.

    Who knows, CBS may give the Champions League the sophistication it deserves, unlike the juvenile behavior between TNT and Fox.

    • David the Yank

      November 12, 2019 at 12:42 pm

      They probably won’t do any production at all. No US network does (other than cheap cheap cheap halftime, pre-game, and post-game shows). Production all provided by the World Feed on site. Probably will use World Feed commentators too, just as Turner has.

  4. Ivan

    November 8, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    As long as Univision and Univision Deportes are showing their usual lineup of games, i am good with that.
    Turner Sports has been so vomit-inducingly bad with their coverage of CL and lack of coverage of EL, that i have not seen a game on their networks in more than a year. Turner Sports will NOT be missed once that contract expires.
    Univision, Deportes and UniMas is all i need, my limited knowledge of Spanish notwithstanding.
    As to CBS taking over, let us wait and see.
    Even in the worst case scenario, the Univison networks will come to the rescue.

  5. Larry Kern

    November 8, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    I do not have a good feeling about this at all….don’t trust CBS to come up with quality announcers either…we’ll see. I’m anticipating a huge amount of games will be pay per view…sure am glad my Spanish is more than adequate to watch Univision.

  6. Azer

    November 8, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Can you imagine watching the Champions League on Showtime like Boxing? The network is owned by the CBS Corporation. I’ll doubt it’ll happen but it’s possibility. The only difference here is CBS All-access might be a better streaming service then B/R Live but everything else stays the same. I wish there was a joint bid, there would be more options.

  7. Jeff

    November 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Don’t think it’s good for the Champions League that it’s bounced around from Fox to Turner and now (reportedly) CBS over the past few years. I know the possibility of that happening comes with the nature of the rights being auctioned every few years. However, the competition really needs to have a long-term partner in order to grow its competition’s visibility/popularity similar to what NBC has been able to do for the Premier League

    • Mike

      November 12, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      That’s what they have in Univision. The rating prove, that there are tons of English speaking people that watch all the matches there, even through the matches are not in English. CBS will do better than Fox, because 1. Fox didn’t want niche sports (in American terms), and divested everything except for News and Major US Sports. 2. CBS Sportsnet can seamlessly support Tuesday – Thursday afternoon programming because currently all that is being shown during that time is simulcasting of CBS Radio. 3. CBS All access is already much bigger and wider scope than B/R Live because it has something all all the family: a. Dramas, b. Comedies, c. Big Ten Basketball, d. AFC NFL, e. SEC College Football. Adding UCL would be a perfect fit. They want an app that will get everyone from the family buying (Like Disney+ is doing). 4. Finally, ESPN/ABC couldn’t guarantee over the Air coverage of the Final because of College Football. The only reason they were able to broadcast the MLS Cup was because they don’t currently have Sunday football…but they are bidding in 2021 to get that. That being said, Univision already has everything and will still be steady and consistent going forward.

  8. JP

    November 8, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Holy crap! Did not see this coming. For years have been saying they should bid for soccer rights and use it to build up the mostly irrelevant CBS Sports cable network. Have to think just 2 matches a day on cable (1pm and 3pm) and the Saturday final on CBS. The rest streaming. Don’t know what other channels they own that might make sense to air matches on television.

    • Dan

      November 8, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      This is what I would expect also. CBS Sports Network carrying a live game in each window, then the rest of the games on All-Access. Saturday afternoon final on CBS.

      That said, airing the final on CBS will most likely require the PGA Tour consenting to earlier third round tee times (for the leaders) than the usual mid-afternoon start (since CBS carries every tournament from the Masters through a week before the U.S. Open). Obviously, the Champions League final is normally played at 3:00 PM Eastern (8:00 London).

      • Eddie

        November 12, 2019 at 8:55 am

        It might move it earl of PGA tour if the renew to avoid final at 3 pm of the game of this deal.

        • Eddie

          November 12, 2019 at 8:56 am

          Sorry I meant if the move it early to avoid the television program on the right schedule staring 2021.

  9. bradjmoore48

    November 8, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    EL and the new UEFA Conference League are being sold under a separate package. CBS does not have the rights to EL or Conference League, as they have not been announced.

  10. cm asia

    November 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    As much as CBS will want to push subs to their “All Access” package, they’d be wise to also offer a subscription based package through cable and satellite, similar to the old Premier League Extra Time.
    I’d pay between $50 and $70 for access to all matches.

    And with those matches played on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, cable and sat operators do have the bandwidth to carry these.

    Christopher, if this contract is confirmed, I’m sure you’ll be interviewing CBS about their coverage.
    Maybe you can mention this idea to them if and when the time comes.

    Cheers,
    cmasia

    • DT

      November 8, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Doesn’t the cable/satellite company take half the cost? Why would they do that if they have their own streaming service?

  11. DT

    November 8, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    DAZN Canada, let me check out the currency exchange rate and a VPN or DNS service.

  12. ToffeeFever

    November 8, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    HOLY SH*T

  13. dn10

    November 8, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Wish ESPN and ESPN+ got it

  14. Joey

    November 8, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Fox sure is looking good now eh Eurofiles? I hope Jim Nantz and Tony Romo are calling games!!

  15. bradjmoore48

    November 8, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Sigh.

    After this, I honestly wished Univision would just have paid for the English language rights as well. Put all the games on Univision, Unimas, TUDN and TUDNxtra and just have an SAP option for English/Spanish.

    I can’t see this being any better than TNT/BR Live.

    • Mike

      November 12, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      That is exactly the way I have been watching it for years. Unimas and Univision are local over the air channels that are 100% free and TUDN is only $16.50 a month on the Fubo.TV Latino quarterly option that also has beINSPorts, beINSPorts ESP, and Fox Sports Deportes. With this I can watch every single Euorpa, every Single UCL game, every single La Liga game, and until next season when they move to ESPN the Bundesliga game of the week. Not a big EPL fan other than Arsenal so the EPL game of the week on NBC is fine for me. All in HD and some in 4-K. It is Football. You don’t need it in English to follow it. In fact just from watching games I am picking up some Spanish without even taking a formal study.

  16. Rick

    November 8, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Some quarter finals, both semi finals and the final should be on CBS main network.

    • DT

      November 8, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      How would that work? Quarter and Semis both on during the weekday and on the East Coast they would be replacing some talk show or whatever is on and then at 4pm local programming takes over. Does CBS have the right to take away programming time from local stations? I know they own some of the biggest stations but still I wouldn’t think quarter or semi will end up on main network if still during weekday.

      • Dan

        November 8, 2019 at 4:35 pm

        Oh yes, that’s not going to happen unless the clubs/ECA/UEFA really do consent to moving some match-weeks to weekends (as was proposed earlier this year).

        • Mike

          November 12, 2019 at 1:19 pm

          Weekday games would be on CBS Sportsnet, replacing TNT.

  17. Derbyday

    November 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Get ready to pay $9.99 a month for CBS All Access!

    • Mike Thompson

      November 8, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      There are two plans the $5.99 one which has ads and the $9.99 which is ad free

  18. Carl Kennedy

    November 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Does anybody have a guess at the percentage of games CBS willput behind the All Access paywall?

    • Derbyday

      November 8, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      I have a bad feeling that everything will be behind the paywall except for one match a day on CBS Sports Network (just like B/R); plus the final on CBS. Hopefully I am wrong and they leverage the Viacom networks

      • Rover

        November 8, 2019 at 3:19 pm

        Yeah put some games on MTV – should get better ratings than Fresh Prince reruns

      • David Warren

        November 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm

        This is almost certainly correct. So going a bit further backward from Turner, given that more of us have TNT subscriptions than CBS Sports Network. Maybe CBS all access is a bit cheaper/better than Bleacher Report?

        But this is VERY VERY bad news compared to {ESPN/ABC, NBC, or even Amazon options}. At least no more Nash insanity

    • Alex

      November 11, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      well TNT puts all but 1 – so im going to say….95%

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