Paramount+ has provided coverage of the early rounds of the 2023-24 Champions League season. Therefore, we forget the broadcasting contract for all broadcasters around the world starts with the playoff round.

Coverage of this season’s Champions League season on Paramount+ has been exceptional. The streaming platform aired matches from each of the three preliminary rounds of the competition. Matches from these early rounds are not part of the rights deal CBS Sports signed with UEFA. Meaning, CBS dished out extra money to bring to us fans early round action as those rights are sold by individual host clubs.

There is no information on CBS’s payment for these games. They cannot be overly expensive. Regardless, Paramount and CBS deserve credit for purchasing these matches for fan consumption in the US. None of the other networks chose to show any matches as they were eligible to purchase just as CBS did. For example, ESPN, FOX, beIN or others could bid on these matches.

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The broadcasting contract for the Champions League starts with the playoff round. However, the other two UEFA club competitions start with the actual Group Stage matches. Individual clubs sell the rights to the Europa League and Europa Conference League playoff round matches. Therefore, they could technically be shown on any network. But, like the Champions League, there does not seem to be any interest outside of CBS to show these matches.

Final rounds of Champions League qualifying on Paramount+

Twenty-six of the 32 participants in the Group Stage of the Champions League have a confirmed spot. The final six spots come from the upcoming playoff round. The ties are as follows:

Antwerp (BEL) vs AEK Athens (GRE)

Rakow (POL) vs Copenhagen (DEN)

Rangers (SCO) vs PSV (NED)

Macabbi Haifa (ISR) vs Young Boys (SUI)

Molde (NOR) vs Galatasaray (TUR)

Sporting Braga (POR) vs Panathinaikos (GRE)

Winners go to the Group Stage of the Champions League. Then, the losers of the ties go into the Europa League Group Stage.

The full coverage schedules of the Champions League and Europa League group stages will come out after the draw. Paramount+ has coverage of that draw on Thursday, Aug. 31. Then, the group stage commences Sep. 19.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Anca Tapei