Turner Sports is launching a stand-alone streaming sports service for fans, set to debut next year. The over-the-top product will join what is becoming an increasingly competitive space as networks and outlets seek to attract viewers who have (and continue to) cut the cord from cable and satellite providers.

The new streaming service will be built around Turner’s UEFA Champions League and Europa League coverage, which the network acquired earlier this year. Turner has an exclusive three-year deal for Champions and Europa League English-language rights, running through 2021, and will now offer a variety of platforms beyond conventional TV with which to provide that coverage to viewers.

Bleacher Report will also be a key component of Turner’s UEFA coverage, providing live games, clips and original content. Turner’s sports arm will also serve as the online portal to the new streaming service through its website, in addition to the social media footprint B/R has established with Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“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,” said Turner president David Levy.

“These highly-anticipated matches and supplemental original programming will be a key foundation for our latest direct to consumer business sports offering, as well as coveted content for Bleacher Report and our leading television networks.  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 will televise four live Champions League games every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon through the Group Stage (September through December), followed by two matches per week during the Knockout Phase (beginning in February), also on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The remainder of the schedule will be available on the streaming sports service and Bleacher Report.

Semifinal matches and the UEFA Champions League final will be televised on TBS, TNT and streaming. UEFA Europa League matches will be available on Turner’s over-the-top service, with the final to be televised on TBS or TNT.

In addition to the UEFA Champions League coverage, Turner also has TV rights for the NBA, MLB, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the PGA, and esports. Turner’s announcement focused on its upcoming soccer coverage, but there figures to be plenty of other content available for consumers throughout the year. That will make this service extremely competitive with others on the market, including ESPN’s planned over-the-top service which is also set for a 2018 launch.

Turner’s sports streaming service will join the company’s other direct-to-consumer offerings, including premium film service FilmStruck and Boomerang, which streams classic and current cartoon series and movies.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is an editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has covered baseball for Yahoo! Sports, MLive.com, Bleacher Report and SB Nation, and provides analysis for several sports talk radio shows each week. He currently lives in Asheville, NC.

  • Dale Moog

    Will Turner offer the NBA TV games on the OTT I do not get NBATV and might buy a Turner OTT if it offered either linear NBATV or at least the live games.

  • Nuri abdil

    Turner sports made the NBA IMO. Before ESPN and any network took a chance on NBA games it was Turner who took the risk. And till this day NBA games on TNT get higher ratings than on ESPN despite ESPN being a sports network. Charles Barkley and Shaq pregrame show alone beats some NHL games.

    • Shawn Diiorio

      TNT has a longer history with ESPN in the NBA, it helps TNT gets many of the higher profile games on Thursday nights, where they don’t have as many local games to compete with.
      But, Most NBA games nowadays don’t beat NHL Games in terms of quality and entertainment. Hell Barkley said once that he would have rather been at the hockey game than the basketball game.

      • Nuri abdil

        I’m not talking about “subjective” quality. I’m talking about “RAW” data. Some people may think DRONE racing is more entertaining than both. To each their own. I’m speaking facts. NBA finals had 3 Times as many viewers than NHL. That’s not debatable that’s fact. We get it. You like NHL more than NBA. I was just speaking about the numbers in terms of the rating

  • GameFederer

    Thank god. I hope Turner takes Champions League coverage to the next level like NBC Sports did for the Premier League. Fox Sports is so dull and bland. Shame they’ve had Champions League rights all these years. Have no doubt Champions League coverage will be superb quality like NBA, MLB coverage. I still wish TBS had all the Division Series games like they did before instead of Fox.

    • inku palios

      Do you think Turner will try to buy the rights to MLS from Fox Sports?

      • GameFederer

        Don’t think so. MLS wasn’t doing too well for NBCSports and they gave it the same great treatment they do for EPL. They let Fox/ESPN get the rights back. If NBC didn’t get Champions League I’m thrilled Turner got it. I fully expect CL to get the same treatment Turner does for NCAA March Madness. Having multiple games on TBS-TNT-TruTV at same time (they already confirmed this).

        I think a realistic target for Turner next is the Thursday-Friday window for the Masters. They already work with CBS on the PGA Championship and NCAA Basketball. It seems like a natural partnership if in a few years they’re able to get the early round Masters’ away from ESPN.

        I remember when TNT took over Wimbledon coverage from HBO. I would have loved to have seen how they would present Wimbledon now in this Golden Era.

        I don’t think Turner has any intent on having NFL games. They tried College Football a decade ago and it did alright for them. I was surprised to know they made a big push for Olympics rights’ from NBC.

        • eddie

          I think turner sports gets tennis and golf like masters and pga championship and possible the pga tour and collage sports and other live sports

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