AP source: CBS to air Champions League in US starting in ’21
Champions League broadcasts in the U.S. will move from Turner to CBS beginning with the 2021-22 season, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Friday because the agreement for U.S. English-language rights had not been announced by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body. The three-year deal will begin in August 2021.
Turner is in its second season airing the Champions League on TNT, but most of the matches through the round of 16 are on Bleacher Report’s streaming package.
Univision will retain the U.S. rights for Spanish-language broadcasts. CBS and Univision will pay $140 million a season, an increase from the $100 million in the current Turner/Univision deal.
This is the first major soccer property that CBS has landed. The Premier League is on NBC while Fox has rights to FIFA events, including the men’s and women’s World Cups. Fox and ESPN share rights to Major League Soccer and the U.S. national teams. Sunday’s MLS Cup final between Toronto and Seattle will air on ABC for the first time since 2008.
CBS will also air games on its cable sports channel and its CBS All Access streaming service.
The Champions League final will return to network television under the deal. Fox held the U.S. English-language rights from 2010-18 before losing them to Turner. ESPN was the first to bring Champions League matches to the U.S., airing them from 1995-2009.
Last season’s final between Liverpool and Tottenham averaged 1,508,000 viewers on TNT, down from 2,004,000 that watched the 2018 final on Fox.
Sports Business Journal was the first to report on CBS acquiring the rights.
AP Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris contributed to this report.