CBS picks up Champions League rights after Turner opts out

Entertainment

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi fights for the ball between Espanyol’s Victor Sanchez, left, during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

NEW YORK (AP) — American broadcaster CBS will get an early start on its Champions League deal, showing games next month when the pandemic-delayed competition resumes.

The rights to the rest of this Champions League season and all of next season became available last month when Turner opted out of its 2018-21 deal for exclusive English language rights in the United States.

CBS said Thursday it acquired the rights — including two Champions League finals in less than 10 months — to add to the 2021-24 European club competitions deal it signed with UEFA last November.

This season’s competition resumes on Aug. 7 and ends with an eight-team knockout tournament in Lisbon, Portugal. The final is on Aug. 23.

Next season’s 32-team group stage starts in mid-October, one month later than usual in a season condensed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 final is scheduled for May 29 in Istanbul, Turkey.

CBS said it will air “select marquee matches” on the main network and CBS Sports Network. All games in the Champions League and second-tier Europa League will be streamed live on the CBS All Access digital subscription service.

The Turner deal was worth a reported $100 million per season, combined with Univision’s Spanish language rights.

CBS and Univision are paying a reported $140 million annually during the 2021-24 broadcast deal. That includes the third-tier Europa Conference League, which kicks off next year.

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