By Jonathan Easton
WarnerMedia-owned Turner has reportedly cancelled its rights deal with UEFA with immediate effect, leaving the Champions League and Europa League without an English-language US broadcaster for the 2020/21 season.
According to Sports Business Journal, Turner – which has been paying around US$60 million a year for the English-language rights to the tournaments in the US – has given up its rights to the tournament, leaving Spanish-language Univision as the sole broadcaster in the country. (Univision currently pays around US$40 million per season and will retain its rights through to 2024 after agreeing a renewal with UEFA last year.)
UEFA has said that the top-tier Champions League will be played out as an eight-team tournament in Lisbon between August 12-23, with the four remaining last 16 second leg matches to take place on August 7-8. As it stands, neither this nor the 2020/21 Champions League will be shown in English on US televisions.
The body has a three-year deal in place with CBS, but this is only from the 2021/22 season.
The outlet said that UEFA is yet to enter into discussions with potential stop-gap broadcasters, but that CBS jumping in early is the most likely outcome.
Also reported to be in the running are ESPN, Fox, NBC, Amazon and DAZN.
The move for Turner to pull out of the Champions League follows its decision to shut down dedicated sports streamer B/R Live and merge its content into the main Bleacher Report app. https://www.digitaltveurope.com