Turner Sports (i.e. TNT, TBS, Bleacher Report) acquired the US rights to the Champions League (and Europa League) amid some fanfare back in 2018, but just two years into their $60m investment, their big push into the European football scene has already ended.
CBS were already set to take over in 2021, at the start of the next three-year cycle of rights — broadcast rights are sold in multi-year blocks — but apparently they will now take over this summer, with Turner opting out of the final year of their contract. CBS are expected to announce this officially on Thursday morning, as per World Soccer Talk.
That means CBS will not only be broadcasting Chelsea’s second leg against Bayern in August, but they will also carry Friday’s quarterfinal draw for the final-eight tournament of this year’s competition that will be held in Portugal. (As well as the corresponding Europa League events, too.)
CBS aren’t exactly known for broadcasting football of the non-handegg persuasion, but they had recently acquired the rights to the NWSL as well, and have been pulling in good numbers with it. Games are expected to stream on CBS All Access ($6/month) and shown on CBS Sports, with perhaps a few select games also making their way onto network television with the main CBS channel.
If they advertise it as “CSI UEFA” and let Tony Romo commentate on it, the people will surely tune in!