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Champions League moves to CBS: Everything you need to know about new US rights deal

Champions League moves to CBS

Now that the announcement has been made that the UEFA Champions League moves to CBS from Turner Sports, what does it mean for viewers in the United States, and how will their coverage be different than what we’ve been accustomed to in the past?

With so many questions and so much information to share, we’ve decided to put everything you need to know about the new US rights deal into one easy-to-read article that you can find below.

If for some reason there is a question you have that has not been answered in the article, let us know in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Question (Q): So, the Champions League moves to CBS, huh? What does that mean exactly and when will their coverage begin?

Answer (A): CBS Sports have the exclusive English-language rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup for the remainder of the 2019/20 season through until the end of the 2023/24 season. In total, it’ll be more than four full seasons of coverage. Their first official broadcast will be Friday, July 10 when they air the draw for the latter rounds of the Champions League and Europa League. Their first actual game coverage will be on Wednesday, August 5 for the Europa League Round of 16 second leg matches.

Q: Wait. I thought Turner Sports had the rights to the Champions League until May 2021?

A: They did. But Turner Sports decided in June 2020 to hand back the rights to UEFA. And UEFA then went ahead and contacted CBS to see if they would be interested. CBS Sports had signed a deal in the fall of 2019 to acquire the rights for 2021/22 through 2023/24. But with Turner Sports dropping out, CBS starts their UEFA club coverage one year earlier than anticipated.

Q: What experience does CBS Sports have with soccer?

A: CBS Sports currently has the rights to NWSL. Prior to that, CBS aired a limited number of NASL games a few seasons ago. But otherwise, CBS has very limited experience with soccer. But from what we’ve seen so far with NWSL, the first signs have been quite encouraging.

Q: So will all of the games be on television or will they be on streaming?

A: Here’s where it gets a little complicated. If you like streaming games, you can rest assured that every single Champions League and Europa League game will be available live and on-demand via CBS All Access, which is currently $6 per month or $59.99 for an annual subscription. Thankfully, CBS offers a 7-day free trial so you can kick the tires and see if CBS All Access is a good fit for you. (As an aside, CBS plans on changing the name of the CBS All Access service in the summer of 2020 to a different name. After all, CBS All Access includes a ton of original programming and on-demand content other than just soccer).

Also worth noting, CBS Sports Digital will stream select games and will feature highlights from each match across social channels and CBS Sports HQ, the 24/7 streaming sports news network.

Watch live coverage of every round, including every game of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League on CBS All Access. New to CBS All Access? Get your 7-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

In regards to television, it always seems to be more complicated because most broadcasters aren’t consistent with when and where they broadcast games.

Here’s what we know so far: CBS has announced that select marquee matches will air on the over-the-air CBS television network and CBS Sports Network. CBS describes the TV coverage as “featuring the most UEFA matches ever on U.S. broadcast television.” Since TNT wasn’t on broadcast television and previous rights-holder FOX Sports typically only showed the finals on over-the-air FOX, the bar is set pretty low for CBS to go ahead and beat that.

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

With the game coverage beginning in August 2020, CBS is promising that select games will appear on CBS Sports Network, which is a TV network available through select cable and TV providers as well as available via the fuboTV streaming platform.

We won’t know how many games and which games will be on TV until CBS releases their schedule in the next few weeks.

Q: What will the TV coverage be like?

A: We’ll have to wait to see what appears, but CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus promises “a first-class presentation serving both the passionate and casual soccer fans. Using a multi-platform approach across our broadcast, cable and digital assets, this partnership will leverage the power of ViacomCBS and CBS Sports to elevate and grow UEFA’s reach in the United States.”

One important note is that CBS Sports Network and CBS All Access will feature a live whip-around coverage of games during the knockout rounds similar to what TUDN did with Zona Futbol.

Competition: Champions League
Genre: Sports

Looking to watch Champions League online from your office, home or on the go? If you live in the USA, there are several options to catch all the action.

We Recommend:
US only.

 

Q: Speaking of TUDN, what happens to the Spanish-language rights in the United States?

A: Univision/TUDN has the Spanish-language rights through the end of the 2023/24 season, so nothing is changing there. With CBS, Univision/TUDN is facing a much tougher opponent for TV ratings than what Turner Sports and B/R Live offered.

Q: What about replays of Champions League matches?

A: CBS Sports Network and CBS All Access will broadcast replays in primetime throughout the season, as well as archival matches on CBS Sports Network.

Q: Who will be the talent in the studio bringing Champions League games to fans on U.S. TV and streaming?

A: World Soccer Talk understands that conversations have taken place with potential studio hosts and other talent such as analysts but that no decisions have been reached yet.

READ MORE: History of UEFA Champions League on US TV

Q: Which streaming services include the CBS over-the-air channel and CBS Sports Network?

A: Both Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and fuboTV include CBS and CBS Sports Network. Ideally, though, cord cutters would be more interested in CBS All Access, which guarantees access to every single UEFA club game (Champions League, Europa League and Conference League).

Q: What’s the UEFA Conference League?

A: Scheduled to begin with the 2020/21 season, the UEFA Conference League will serve as the bottom level of the existing UEFA Europa League competition.

Q: Will CBS use their own commentators?

A: At this stage, CBS Sports plan to use the world-feed commentaries from UEFA.

Q: How much did CBS pay for the rights to the UEFA Champions League?

A: According to industry sources, CBS and Univision are paying $140 million/year for the 2021-24 rights deal. A source to World Soccer Talk revealed that CBS is paying close to $90 million per season.

No word on how much CBS paid for the 2020/21 season.

When Turner Sports and Univision both had the rights to the Champions League, they were paying UEFA approximately $100 million per season.

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Travis

    July 28, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    So I got CBS Access.

    I don’t mind telling you Chris that I’m somewhat miffed about having to do so.

    This is precisely why soccer will always lag way behind the four major sports in the American public perception. Erecting a paywall when you should be promoting the beautiful game to an appreciative mass audience.

    It’s the principle of the thing.

    Remember Champions League coverage on FS1? Now that was a job well done. Unlike B/R.

    Let’s all hope CBS gives Champions League the royal treatment it deserves.

    • Donald Duck

      July 28, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Im very happy that CBS all access will have ALL the matches. Saying that because its behind a paywall is the reason why “no one” will care. What was the reason why Premier League didn’t take off when all the matches were “FREE” on the NBC extra channels.
      In general the only sport Americans care about is NFL and NCAAF. Even NBA is more about the off season crap and maybe 3 or 4 teams mostly due to 1 player not even the whole team in most cases.

      Ive found if i only visit soccer sites and soccer subreddits then all other sports dont even come up, i couldn’t tell you who is best in any of the leagues in America even though i live smack dab in the middle of America lol.

      WST and TalkSports are the only 2 places I get my sports news from on a daily basis.

      • Travis

        July 29, 2020 at 1:24 am

        I see that you’re a St Louis native.

        I don’t begrudge your Blues the NHL title, but man it would have been oh so sweet for Boston to do a grand slam of sorts for my Bruins (am originally from the Boston area).

        • Travis

          July 29, 2020 at 1:25 am

          with my Bruins, that is.

  2. Cole Stark

    July 27, 2020 at 2:38 am

    Will we be able to access replays of the games like on demand after they air or do we have to watch live. Like can we go back day after or days after and watch games.

  3. Dennis Anderson

    July 24, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    That’s the good thing about streaming. You decide what you want to watch & how much you can pay. Sometime you can’t watch everything you want. Just pick what is most important to you.

  4. Yespage

    July 13, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    So coverage of Champions League became even harder to get? Great, some unknown number of games on CBS broadcast, but I can’t imagine CBS Sports is on in that many homes. It is a frivolous extra sports network.

    • Donald Duck

      July 13, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      Every match is on CBS All Access im very much happy for how this played out. 6 bucks a month is a steal for this content. Hell i might do the 99 dollar yearly price since ill watch the other programs also and well i hate commercials lol.

      • Yespage

        July 13, 2020 at 11:29 pm

        Yeah, $6 more a month than I was paying when it was on Fox. The table talk guys weren’t the best, but the games were shown. This is wonderful for “cord” cutters. No one else.

        • Donald Duck

          July 14, 2020 at 7:01 am

          Thats definitely the reason i am a cord cutter. My setup is the Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle no commercials for 20 bucks a month and CBS all access ill buy the 100 buck no commercials yearly subscription. Out the door my yearly price is a whopping 340 bucks for all the football i need. Yes i gave up Premier league but i pick up Bundesliga this coming season on top of all the other football already with ESPN+.

          • JP

            July 14, 2020 at 8:02 am

            That’s all well and good, but for those of us who follow local sports and require the RSN’s, this isn’t possible. At best would also need a Fubo if you want to cut the cord, but then the price is almost equivalent to cable once all other costs are factored in.

            • Donald Duck

              July 14, 2020 at 10:09 am

              Trust me being a Huge St Louis Cardinals and Blues fan I had to have access to FSMW. However after the price increases of all the streaming services i had to make a choice and decided to drop Live programming in favor of my bank account lol.

              Id most certainly have MLBTV and NHLCI if they allowed in market streaming. Seeing as all i watched was 5 to 7 channels.

              • JP

                July 14, 2020 at 2:04 pm

                I hear you on the 5 to 7 channels! Same here.

                Would love if NHL Center Ice had no local blackouts (or NBA Leage Pass), then cutting the cord would be feasible

              • Travis

                July 29, 2020 at 1:28 am

                Who’s your team in the Champions League? Mine’s Barcelona.

                The way the path to the final is laid out, would love a

                Barcelona vs PSG final

                with a Barcelona vs Juventus semis

                or even an el clasico final lol

                • Travis

                  July 29, 2020 at 2:03 am

                  My bad, el clasico is only possible in the semis.

                  Sure would feel like a champions league final though. UEFA finally get that elusive cl final,

  5. Brendan

    July 13, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    B/R live showed selected games both Champions League & Europa League when they had the rights don’t if CBS all access will follow suit

  6. Grant

    July 11, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Any word on if they have rights to the qualifying matches for the 2020/21 season? Early rounds will take place around the same time as this season’s final knockout stages.

    • Soccer O

      July 12, 2020 at 10:43 pm

      Rights to early qualifying rounds aren’t part of UEFA TV deals.

  7. Brendan

    July 10, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    Jeremy St Louis and Thomas Rongan both who worked together on BeIN Sport and Rongan still does appear to be the analysts who were on CBS Sports HQ this morning talking about the draw .so it looks them to start

  8. USAJerry

    July 10, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    If this morning’s coverage looks like any indiction, Jeremy St. Louis (of old FOX Sports World Report fame) will anchor the desk along with Thomas Rongan. This makes sense for Rongan since he already does work for beIN and it appears that the CBS soccer studio coverage will be based in Ft. Lauderdale.

  9. Efrain

    July 10, 2020 at 7:05 am

    Chris- Will on demand matches be available immediately after live event or will we have to wait hours like that “other” network is doing with the Premier League?

  10. Ivan

    July 9, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Univision and Univision Deportes then. CBS will crash and burn not unlike TNT.

  11. Bryan

    July 9, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    For the love of all things holy, please don’t hire alexi lalass for the on air talent.

    • BOB

      July 18, 2020 at 3:00 am

      I second this

  12. Travis

    July 9, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Please provide the details and schedules of free to air on CBS vis a vis Champions League games when you get them. Thank you so much.

    • Christopher Harris

      July 9, 2020 at 6:33 pm

      Travis, as soon as we get them, we’ll publish them here:

      https://worldsoccertalk.com/champions-league-tv-schedule/

      • Travis

        July 9, 2020 at 10:17 pm

        Thank you Chris! Love your work!

      • Travis

        July 24, 2020 at 1:47 am

        Chris, will CBS (the regular CBS channel) show any full games at all, or are they only on CBS All Access and CBS Sports Network?

        Thank you much. Keep up the wonderful work.

        • Christopher Harris

          July 24, 2020 at 8:40 am

          Hi Travis, yes, the CBS over-the-air channel will have some games. We don’t know which ones or how many yet, but we’ll find out within the next week and will update the TV schedule accordingly at https://worldsoccertalk.com/champions-league-tv-schedule/

          • Travis

            July 24, 2020 at 1:46 pm

            Thank you.

  13. Chris

    July 9, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Chris can you check if there is any 4k offering planned?

    • Donald Duck

      July 9, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Ill be happy so long as it is 720 and 60fps anything more is just icing on the cake.

      However 4k/HDR would be a huge bonus.

    • Andrew

      July 11, 2020 at 11:57 am

      I have just been reading some articles about CBS All Access and what they offer. One of the articles i have read states that CBS All Access only streams in 720p. Nothing else. This article was written on the 7th July 2020, so the info should be up to date.

  14. eddie

    July 9, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Is TUDN will provide a whip around on a cable network just like CBS sports networks and CBS all access provided wraparound show?

  15. Ritchie

    July 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    “CBS Sports Network and CBS All Access will feature a live whip-around coverage of games during the knockout rounds”

    I don’t think the knockout rounds this summer will have any competing games in the same broadcast window. However, when referring to the next three years, I think knockout games only have one other game in the same slot (at most)

    A whiparound show is more useful during the group stage.

    • Christopher Harris

      July 9, 2020 at 2:15 pm

      Good point. It’s worded that way in their press release, but looking at it again, it’s possible that they meant the final games in the group stages will be shown via whiparound instead of the actual games in the knockout rounds. I’ll try to get clarification.

    • Ritchie

      July 10, 2020 at 10:11 am

      I was wrong: the 8/7 and 8/8 round of 16 games will run simultaneously, so the whip around can cover two games at once. Still, that’s not as useful as a group stage show of the same type.

  16. EJWTX

    July 9, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    I speak Spanish and have TUDN so I will watch there. Screw CBS and CBS All Access.

    • BOB

      July 18, 2020 at 2:57 am

      I don’t speak Spanish but will be doing the same. Also, yes, screw CBS and CBS all access

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