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How UEFA Champions League in Spanish is evolving under ViX

UEFA Champions League in Spanish

TelevisaUnivision’s coverage of the UEFA Champions League for the 2022/23 season has a duality. Viewers will feel comfortable knowing that the quality level of production and talent feels very familiar. At the same time, there are many changes underfoot. The introduction of the streaming platform ViX adds a different dynamic that wasn’t there before.

To better understand the changes and to get a sense of the vision that the Spanish-language broadcaster has for the UEFA competitions, World Soccer Talk caught up this week with President of Sports at TelevisaUnivision Olek Loewenstein.

How ViX is shaking up its UEFA coverage

First, let’s get to the changes. None of the thirty two Champions League games for the first two weeks of the season appear on Galavision, one of the many channels under the umbrella of TelevisaUnivision. Another big change is that the non-televised games are now available on ViX or ViX+ as well as on TUDNxtra. For instance, out of the sixteen Champions League games this week, 50% of them are only available in Spanish-language via ViX+ (priced at $6.99 per month). Meanwhile, four games are available on the free ViX platform.

Suffice to say, a select number of Champions League games on TUDNxtra is a big change for viewers who have been accustomed to switching on the television (or logging in via TUDNxtra) and watching all Champions League games for free.

Nevertheless, select games are still available on television via Univision, UniMas and TUDN, as before.

“We will keep the best games on free-to-air [Univision], and ViX will become the hub for European soccer competitions,” said Loewenstein. “ViX will be the place where you’ll be able to see all of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA national team games.”

Positioning ViX

ViX has news, entertainment, shows and movies. But when the focus comes specifically to soccer, Loewenstein helped explain the strategy.

“It’s undeniable that streaming is going to be a big part of the future of sports,” Loewenstein said. “There are some people who say it will be the future, period. I still think there’s going to be a combination of platforms.

“The way we’re doing it is that we’re thinking of ViX as an outlet for soccer. In the past, with linear channels, we have very limited inventory especially in the world of soccer where most of the games happen between Friday and Sunday at concurrent times. On a linear network, you basically need to choose one game. The other ones, you just can’t program [on linear television].

Olek Loewenstein

Olek Loewenstein

“We thought of ViX as the place where we could cater to other Hispanics. So we acquired the rights for the Peruvian league, Argentine league, Brazilian league and the Colombian league. Those are leagues you can watch on ViX.

“I mention ViX in general because we have a windowing strategy. For most of these leagues, we have a ‘game of the week’ in front of the paywall, and the rest of the games behind the paywall. We have the same concept with Mexican soccer.”

Speaking of Mexican soccer, Liga MX continues to be the “bread and butter” of TelevisaUnivision’s success story when it comes to club soccer. Interestingly, though, the broadcaster has three times more non-Hispanics watching Champions League than the Mexican league, according to Loewenstein.

TelevisaUnivision’s interest in acquiring more soccer rights

In August, CBS Sports paid $1.5 billion to renew the English-language rights to the UEFA Champions League for 2024/25 through 2029/30. For the Spanish-language rights, UEFA and Relevent Sports have decided to pause the bidding process until the streaming landscape gets more competitive between ViX+ and Peacock Premium.

With ViX wanting to be the world’s largest streaming service dedicated to Spanish-language content, renewing the rights to a prestigious competition such as the Champions League is an important piece of their strategy.

Meanwhile, when asked about any interest in the rights to CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores that expire this year, Loewenstein replied, “We’re always looking at potentially acquiring rights but the problem at this point is that, for us at least, it needs to have economic value. We will go after every single piece of rights that are out there as long as it makes a return on investment for us. So it’s not a matter of whether we want it, it’s whether we can acquire it for the price that we’re willing to pay.”

‘The home of soccer’ in the United States

In conclusion, Loewenstein summed up how he sees TelevisaUnivision’s position in the broadcast world when it comes to soccer. “I think we’ve positioned ourselves in the market with probably the greatest team and combination of resources between Mexico and the US to cover the sport of soccer. And that is being reflected in the coverage that we do and the results that we have.”

Coverage of the UEFA Champions League continues this month on both CBS Sports and TelevisaUnivision.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. locofooty

    September 9, 2022 at 9:21 am

    Steve left everyone hanging lol

  2. Matt

    September 9, 2022 at 12:11 am

    Chris–Do you have a comprehensive list somewhere of all the soccer holdings of Vix/Vix+? In addition to the UEFA CL, I know they have the rights to the UEFA Nations League, but what about Europa League, Europa Conference League, UEFA Nations friendlies and Euro/World Cup qualifiers?

    Even not being particularly interested in Liga MX or the South American leagues, I’m thinking Vix/Vix+ might be the best value in soccer out there, basically combining the current Paramount+ offerings and, if confirmed, the former ESPN/ESPN+ offerings (Now Fox/Fubo). At $6.99/month, a true bargain!

    • dave

      September 9, 2022 at 10:07 am

      @Matt, two cautions if you are looking at ViX+ vs. Paramount+:
      .
      * Spanish-language rights in the US are becoming more valuable, potentially leading to rights changing hands. For example, future year UCL/UEL/UECL rights have been awarded to Paramount+ in English but not yet decided in Spanish (may go to Telemundo or a streamer)
      .
      * Soccer coverage is generally more fragmented on TUDN than on Paramount. Where your $5 to Paramount+ gets you almost every match for every soccer property they carry (NWSL a big exception), your $7 to ViX+ gets you some, but not all, of the soccer they carry (some games are not available on ViX/ViX+ and are instead on TUDN, Univision, etc.)

      • Matt

        September 9, 2022 at 11:25 pm

        I hear you, but just talking about this year, the Spanish-language rights are set, and based on Chris’s piece, it really looks like Vix/Vix+ will carry all UEFA nations competitions: “ViX will be the place where you’ll be able to see all of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA national team games.”

        You might miss a few UEL/UECL games on Vix/Vix+, but for people on a budget interested in the UEFA CL and UEFA nations competitions, I think the recommendation is clear: ditch Paramount+ and get Vix+.

  3. Don Freeman

    September 8, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Which service Steve? Paramount + right?

  4. Don Freeman

    September 8, 2022 at 10:51 am

    Walk me through signing up and canceling Vix + please?!

  5. Mario Garcia

    September 7, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    Very interesting article about Vix+, their thinking about the Champions League and their approach Paywall vs non-paywall.

    However for the Colombian league they show very little on the Vix free, out of the last 3 “windows”, in only one of those windows there was a free game on Vix – versus what they mention of having one game on the Vix Free and the rest on the paid one.

    Can’t wait for them to have a sale like the one Peacock is having, with the 1.99 $ per month for 12 months.

  6. Timely78

    September 7, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    does this mean galavision won’t show sports anymore for the foreseeable future

  7. dave

    September 7, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you for the interesting interviews recently on an eclectic mix of topics. I enjoyed learning about the evolving strategy and execution for ViX, ViX+, linear, etc. While a bit fragmented, Liga MX coverage remains strong across OTA, TUDN, ViX+
    .
    For UCL this week, I am watching Spanish OTA with Paramount+ Golazo muted second screen. I did not know there was a Zona Futbol whip-around – tried it on fubo Latino but had severe technical glitches. Maybe next week. Good to know TUDNxtra is also a UCL viewing option

  8. UnitedFan 3478

    September 7, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    ViX is the best option for UEFA National Teams. If only Paramount+ got the English rights from Fox. Hopefully, UEFA can buy back the rights from Fox and sell it to CBS/Paramount+, because they’re doing such a good job with the UCL, UEL, and UECL. Fox ruined UEFA.

  9. SteveK

    September 7, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    If anyone is interested in comparing the Champions League picture quality of ViX with Paramount+ Ajax Rangers happens to be free on ViX today. I’m using an Apple TV and one service has a far better picture.

    • Don Freeman

      September 8, 2022 at 11:24 am

      Paramount + right?

      • SteveK

        September 9, 2022 at 10:30 am

        Yes on that day and for that game the clear winner was Paramount+ and it wasn’t close. I was coy because I didn’t want to influence anyone else, I was using the respective apps on an aTV 4K and I had hoped someone else was curious and would chime in what they felt with their hardware. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere but I think Paramount+ Champions League picture quality has improved from last year, I watched two games that day Rangers and Tottenham and video for both was better than I recalled from last year. My hardware and internet haven’t changed. I got some pushback from Michael F who was also using an Apple TV who thought the Champions League streaming quality hadn’t improved and maybe others can weigh in. To my eye it was still a notch or two behind Peacock Premier League quality but better than last year.

    • Efrain

      September 9, 2022 at 8:19 am

      @SteveK- Which service has better picture? Paramount UCL games have awful picture.

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