Many of the biggest headlines in the cable-cutting world over the last few years have been deals between tech firms or streaming services and sports leagues. Sports have been one of the last areas to fully make the transition into streaming video, but not any longer. Now, in a move that’s sure to please soccer fans in the U.S., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has announced it has picked up the rights to UEFA league soccer in the United States and plans to launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service for UEFA games in 2018.
Turner president David Levy says the deal is intended to expand Turner’s streaming offerings in order to reach the coveted cable-cutter market:
The launch of Turner’s new OTT sports platform and partnership with UEFA aligns with the company’s continued strategy to further expand the distribution ecosystem and our ongoing commitment to engage fans with premium content they crave across all platforms. In addition to the new audiences we’ll attract through the streaming service, the partnership will leverage the tremendous reach we have with our television networks and Bleacher Report’s position as the leading digital destination for millennial fans.
Turner’s new UEFA offerings are part of their growing efforts to move into direct-to-consumer sports offerings. Their coverage of UEFA matches will also give their supplemental sports progamming a boost across all of the Turner networks. Turner’s acquisition of UEFA league games is surely a blow to Fubo TV, which launched primarily as a soccer/football streaming service.
Matches in the Champions League Group Stage season will be broadcast on Turner’s linear television stations from September to December, airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m ET. February’s Knockout Phase games will broadcast at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while semi-final and championship games will be broadcast live on either TBS or TNT. All other UEFA games will stream live on Turner’s upcoming streaming service.