There’s been a lot of consternation over recent months when it was announced that Turner Sports would be getting the English-language USA television and streaming rights to the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. While many people have their gripes with the way that Fox Sports handles the sport, the games were broadly accessible. Would Turner maintain that same degree of availability?
The answer is a resounding “No.”
Turner released their plans for Europe’s two biggest club competitions, and it sure is terrible if you wanted to only watch games on TV through your cable/satellite provider and not pay for a separate streaming service. A year after Fox aired 146 Champions League games and 205 Europa League games, Turner will air just 47 games. Total. For both competitions.
Here’s how the Champions League games break down:
Group Stage: Tuesday, Sept. 18, through Wednesday, Dec. 12, with weekly matches held Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 12:55 p.m. and 3 p.m. All matches will be available on B/R Live, with one match per game window (two each day) televised on TNT.
Round of 16: Tuesday, Feb. 12, through Wednesday, March 13, with matches on B/R Live and TNT each Tuesday and Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Quarterfinals: Tuesday-Wednesday, April 9-10 and April 16-17, with live coverage on B/R Live and TNT at 3 p.m.
Semifinals: Tuesday-Wednesday, April 30-May 1 and May 7-8, with matches on B/R Live and TNT at 3 p.m.
Final: Saturday, June 1, at 3 p.m. on B/R Live and TNT
Obviously, the only question that needs to be asked here is “What does this mean for Bayern Munich?”
As of now, it’s hard to tell. The programming directors at Turner will get to pick and choose every single day which games will make it to television. Will those executives pick Bayern over Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham? That’s what this all comes down to now. The whim of a television executive.
On the positive side, it does appear that they’re committing to actual studio shows.
B/R Football Matchday: One-hour pre-match show airing at noon ET on UEFA Champions League match days
B/R Football Halftime: Halftime show during UEFA Champions League matches
B/R Football Extra Time: A bridge show airing on TNT in between UEFA Champions League matches
B/R Football Postmatch: A 30-minute post-match show recapping the day’s UEFA Champions League action
As for fans of the Europa League, you will only be able to watch the Final on television. That’s right. The only Europa League game that will be shown on television this year will be the Final. If you want to watch any of the other games, you’ll have to watch via their streaming service.
They are offering their streaming service B/R Live for $2.99 per match, $9.99 per month, or $79.99 per year. They will stream it through the website or on the app which is available in all major app stores. So, while you will be able to watch everything in English, if you’re a fan of certain teams, you’re going to have to pay extra to do it.