The TV, Internet and Phone Blog

Information on Cable, Digital Television, and Internet Providers

Tag Archives: soccer

Turner Sports Wins Champions League Cable TV Rights

The Champions League is the cream of the crop of European football (soccer), with the top teams from each country’s top league competing to see who the best team in Europe is. Turner Sports has won the English-language cable TV rights for the Champions League from Fox, who was the previous rights holder for both English and Spanish language TV rights. Univision will hold the Spanish language TV rights.

More from Awful Announcing:

Turner will pay $60 million a year for three years, beginning in fall 2018 and stretching through spring 2021.

Turner was somewhat of a surprise bidder, given that it has not aired any soccer coverage since the 1990 World Cup. The network will have to build an entire soccer operation essentially from scratch and will likely be looking outside the company for the new faces of its soccer coverage.

According to SBD, Fox’s bid for these rights was nowhere near what Turner offered. Fox has held Champions League rights since 2009 and has focused much attention on soccer coverage, with rights to the World Cup and MLS.

NBC, which owns rights to the English Premier League, reportedly submitted only a “token bid” for the Champions League.

Turner is becoming a major player in sports television once again, and expanding its audience to the younger crowd drawn more to soccer than the traditional American sports audience. Turner also holds rights to the NBA, MLB Playoffs, and March Madness.

ESPN Remains in the European Soccer Cable TV Arena

ESPN, the Disney-owned cable TV sports broadcasting powerhouse, will maintain its stranglehold over US English-language European soccer viewing with a new deal announced today locking up the rights to all UEFA national team competitions through the 2022 World Cup Qualification process.

Here are the details of the deal, via Awful Announcing:

ESPN and ESPN2: Will televise all 51 matches live (June-July 2020); Additional coverage will include pre-match, halftime and post-match programming, branded news and highlights shows on match days, unlimited re-air rights across all networks and media platforms, magazine programs, and more;

ESPN3: Will offer exclusive content from live events on television and alternate streams to complement big game on linear television. All matches, not including the alternate streams, will be available for replay;

ESPN Audio: English-language broadcast rights to 51 matches;

WatchESPN App: Will stream all matches and ancillary programming;

SportsCenter and ESPN FC: Extensive highlights rights on ESPN signature studio programs, including in-progress highlights; Extensive coverage via dedicated UEFA EURO 2020 sections featuring video highlights, news clips, reports, columns, blogging, match previews, player profiles and real-time data. Additionally, the digital sites have the option to create digital-exclusive programming;

ESPN Social: Rights clips and shareable content across ESPN FC handles on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, et al.

Fox Sports has the rights to the upcoming World Cups, and NBC Sports holds English Premier League rights, so with this move ESPN is remaining in the game when it comes to the world’s most popular sport, which is growing in interest in the United States as well.

Olympic Specialty Coverage on DIRECTV

If you’re tired of up-close-and-personal profiles and tons and tons of commercials, there’s a way to watch the Olympics the way you want to, on your TV, for soccer and basketball at least. On DIRECTV, NBC Sports has provided two specialty networks available on channels 205-1 and 205-2, with wall-to-wall coverage of soccer and basketball.

These specialty channels are showing every game live, in the men’s basketball tournament, the women’s basketball tournament, the women’s soccer tournament, and the men’s soccer tournament. When live games are not available, the channels show re-airings of previous games, so you can catch up on all the action you missed while away from your TV.

In addition, channel 205 on DIRECTV enables you to watch multiple channels of Olympic action at once, and toggle sound between different events. You can also move from the mix screen directly to a preferred event by using the arrow buttons on your remote to highlight the preferred channel and pressing the OK button to go right to the action.

In addition, you can stream any event live at

Copa America Cable TV Schedule

The Copa America soccer tournament has been a ratings hit for Fox Sports 1, with the match between the United States and Paraguay last Saturday setting a high water mark for soccer ratings on the channel. The quarterfinals are upcoming, with eight teams remaining, games starting today. Here is the schedule and TV listings (all times Eastern) for the Copa America Quarterfinal matches, via CBS Sports:

Match 25 Thu., June 16 USA vs. Ecuador CenturyLink Field 9:30 p.m. FS1
Match 26 Fri., June 17 Peru vs. Colombia MetLife Stadium 8:00 p.m. FS1
Match 27 Sat., June 18 Argentina vs. Venezuela Gillette Stadium 7:00 p.m. FX
Match 28 Sat., June 18 Mexico vs. Chile Levi’s Stadium 10:00 p.m. FX

FS1 airs on channel 219 on DIRECTV; FX is channel 248. Enjoy the games.

FS1 to Air FIFA Presidential Election on Cable TV

Fox Sports 1 (FS1), Fox’s attempt to compete with ESPN for 24 hour sports coverage on cable TV, will air extensive coverage of the FIFA Presidential Election on February 26, with six hours of programming dedicated to the event beginning at 3am EST, and additional preview programming the night before at 6pm EST.

More from Fox Sports:

“This is an important news story with international repercussions, and as the primary home for televised soccer in the U.S., it’s our duty to cover it, and cover it well,” said David Nathanson, FOX Sports’ Head of Business Operations. “We look forward to working closely with FIFA and the incoming president as we gear up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and beyond.”

FS1’s wall-to-wall coverage begins on Thursday, Feb. 25 with a one-hour pre-election special at 6:00 PM ET. Hosted by Rob Stone, the program features exclusive sit-down interviews with each of the five candidates, Prince Ali Al Hussein, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Jerome Champagne, Gianni Infantino and Tokyo Sexwale, courtesy of FOX Sports soccer insider Grant Wahl and sister network Sky Sports in the U.K.

In the early morning hours on Friday in the U.S. (3:00-9:00 AM ET), Stone anchors more than six hours of live coverage from the FOX Network Center in Los Angeles as the process to elect a new FIFA president plays out. Analyst Alexi Lalas and contributor Mark Young join Stone in-studio, while Sky Sports’ Kate Abdo and Wahl provide the channel’s live coverage from the Hallenstadion in Zurich. Expanded coverage continues post 9:00 AM on FS2.

Election coverage is also live streamed via FOX Sports GO, FOX Soccer 2Go and online at Viewers can also follow the commentary via social media on Facebook ( and Twitter (@FOXSoccer).

FS1 is channel 219 on DIRECTV, and is also available on all major cable TV providers.

Women’s World Cup Final Sets Ratings Record for Soccer in the US

Last Sunday’s soccer match between the United States and Japan, a rematch of the previous Women’s World Cup Final match in which Japan defeated the United States, set a ratings record for broadcast or cable TV for the sport in the United States, bringing a big victory for Fox and its coverage of the sport over the past month. The previous record for viewership for a soccer game in the USA was 18.2 million viewers, for last year’s men’s match in the World Cup between the United States and Portugal. The US Women’s National Team’s victory on Sunday far outpaced that, with more than 25 million English-language viewers.

More from Variety:

Nielsen estimates that Sunday’s game averaged a whopping 26.7 million viewers, with 25.4 million watching the English-language telecast on Fox and another 1.3 million checking out the Spanish-language airing on Telemundo. The total audience is larger than that for every NBA Finals basketball game since 2010 and every World Series baseball game since 2004.

The big tune-in for soccer on Sunday, along with a portion of the USA-Germany women’s soccer game on Tuesday, propelled Fox to an easy demo win for the week of June 29-July 5; the network drew about as many young-adult viewers as its two closest competitors (NBC and CBS) combined. Fox also scored a rare victory in total viewers (6.7 million).

The lesson here is that soccer can be a big moneymaker for broadcast and cable networks in the USA, as long as the US National Team—either men’s or women’s—is involved.

Soccer Can Be a Big Draw on US Cable TV

While soccer is not one of the four major sports in the United States, it is drawing well over the past couple weeks as the Euro 2012 tournament has aired each afternoon on ESPN, ESPN2, and other channels in the ESPN family. Cable and satellite TV providers bringing ESPN into homes are seeing a marked rise in United States viewership of the tourney, which features the best national teams in Europe playing for the title of the best team in the continent. First round games have been shown to have nearly twice the rating they achieved in relation to the equivalent games for the last Euro soccer tournament, which was held four years ago in 2008.

In fact, Euro 2012 soccer is performing just about as well as did the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals. While the NHL is the least-followed of the four major team sports in the United States, it is still strange to see soccer doing as well, if not better, particularly when there are no American participants in this tournament involving national teams from European countries. There are two possible explanations for this:

  1. That soccer is growing in popularity in the United States, much more than would have been expected,
  2. That rather than airing on the fledgling NBC Sports Network, these soccer games are airing on the powerhouse suite of ESPN channels.

It’s probably a little bit of the first option, and a lot more of the second. ESPN has shown it can provide quality soccer coverage when dedicated to doing so, and ESPN does far more to promote sporting events airing on its own channels than it does to cover sports appearing on other broadcast networks or cable TV channels. The way that ESPN covered the Stanley Cup Playoffs was a joke, so it’s no surprise that Euro is doing well with the Worldwide Leader’s push behind it.

Still, it is surprising just how well soccer is doing. Maybe it really will become a sport with a genuinely large American fanbase.