Under the terms of US Soccer’s 8-year deal with Turner Sports, the first US Soccer national team game will debut on HBO Max this January.
The US Women’s National Team (USWNT) kicks off the Turner Sports era on January 17 in a friendly down under against New Zealand. It will be the first US national team match to be shown by Turner Sports in a deal that lasts until 2030. Previously, FOX Sports, Univision and ESPN shared the rights to US national team games.
USA’s game against New Zealand will be the first soccer game to feature on WarnerMedia’s streaming service HBO Max in the United States. Outside of this country, HBO Max stream soccer from around the world. For example, HBO Max streams the UEFA Champions League throughout Mexico.
US Soccer HBO Max debut kick offs new deal
The US Soccer-Turner Sports rights deal marks the first time US Soccer sold rights without bundling them with those of Major League Soccer (MLS). The estimated $200 million deal is all for US Soccer to keep instead of sharing the money with Soccer United Marketing and MLS.
The 8-year deal includes all men’s and women’s national team friendlies, US Open Cup, She Believes Cup as well as 2030 World Cup qualifying. The 2026 World Cup qualifying would also be included but it is expected that the men’s team will qualify automatically for the tournament by virtue of being co-hosts with Canada and Mexico. But there has not been official word from FIFA yet.
Overall, we can expect over 20 matches per year on Turner Sports’ various outlets.
So where exactly will matches be shown?
Turner Sports have said approximately 10 matches will be shown on Turner’s cable stations TBS and TNT every year. But all matches, whether they are shown on TBS/TNT or not, it appears will be shown on HBO Max, the WarnerMedia (Turner’s parent company) streaming service. It’s worth noting that Bleacher Report also falls under the WarnerMedia umbrella, another online destination that could be utilized to show less popular matches.
However, this is where the confusion arises. Don’t get too used to the name HBO Max as WarnerMedia (who owns HBO & Turner Sports) merged with Discovery in April 2022 to create a new company under the name Warner Bros Discovery.
The new company has announced plans to launch a brand-new streaming service that will include all the content the newly merged company owns, including HBO Max. The new streaming service will be in direct competition with the likes of Netflix and Disney+.
Plans are to launch the new streaming service sometime in the Spring of 2023. At that time, HBO Max will be going away unless Warner Bros Discovery make any more U-turns.
Soccer TV landscape can be complicated
These days, we know it’s not easy being a soccer fan. Not only in the United States, but worldwide is the same as streaming services interrupt the traditional TV model.
In the US, the Premier League is on Comcast’s NBC/Peacock service. La Liga and the Bundesliga are on Disney’s ESPN+. Serie A, UEFA Champions League and other European cup competitions are on CBS’ Paramount+.
Meanwhile, various other leagues are strewn across a ranger of different streaming services. And now, the USMNT and USWNT have a new home on Warner Bros-Discovery.
One thing is a certainty. We’ll continue to keep you apprised of where to watch the games.
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