CBS, Univision land Champions League broadcast rights amid sports media gold rush: Report

CBS and Univision have acquired broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League, a top-tier European soccer competition, marking yet another lucrative deal for live sports content as media giants seek ways to lure viewers.

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The broadcast agreement is set to begin in the fall of 2021 and run through 2024, Sports Business Journal reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter. CBS and Univision are set to pay an average annual combined sum of $150 million over the three-year span to air Champions League games.

Univision and CBS declined to comment on the report.

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CBS will replace Turner Sports as owner of the league English-language broadcast rights, while Univision is maintaining its deal for Spanish-language rights. The previous deal was said to be worth an average of $100 million per year.

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CBS reportedly plans to air the games on its main broadcast channel, as well as CBS Sports Network and its CBS All-Access streaming service. ESPN, NBC and FOX Sports are all said to have submitted bids for English-language rights.

Sports broadcast rights are generating strong interest from media companies in the cord-cutting era, as more customers ditch traditional cable in favor of streaming services or bundles. Sporting events are one of the few forms of programming still capable of drawing large live audiences, which is an attractive proposition for advertisers.

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ESPN agreed last month to pay $30 million annually to air matches from the German soccer league, Bundesliga, on its streaming service. Existing rights deals for NFL “Monday Night Football” and “Sunday Ticket” are both set to expire in the coming years.

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