Heading into the knockout stages of this year’s UEFA Champions League, CBS is flexing its broadcast TV muscle.
On Monday, CBS announced that six of the 16 matches would air on the CBS broadcast network, with the remaining ten remaining exclusive to Paramount+. The pre-game show for those six matches will also air on CBS, meaning that we’ll be getting three full hours of Champions League coverage on broadcast TV on each of those matchdays. The post-game show will remain on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+.
Here are the matches included.
- Tuesday, February 15th: Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid
- Wednesday, February 16th: Inter Milan vs Liverpool
- Tuesday, February 22nd: Chelsea vs Lille
- Wednesday, February 23rd: Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United
- Tuesday, March 8th: Liverpool vs Inter Milan
- Wednesday, March 9th: Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain
In other words, both legs of the PSG-Real Madrid and Inter-Liverpool ties get the broadcast TV treatment, along with the first legs of Chelsea-Lille and Atletico-United. Given that of the ten matches that are streaming-only, six of them take place at the same time as these matches on broadcast, the dedication to the Champions League is impressive.
As usual, all matches, including the ones airing on broadcast, will be available on Paramount+, along with the pre-game and post-game shows.
So, why aren’t the final legs of Chelsea-Lille and Atletico-United also airing on broadcast? I assume it’s an issue of start time. Those matches start an hour later because of Daylight Saving Time in the US, which occurs earlier than in Europe, and the 4 PM-6 PM window is far less friendly for local affiliates. The NCAA Tournament also could play a role, as the First Four games (which typically air on truTV, rather than CBS) take place on March 15th and 16th, the same as the second legs of those two ties.
Anyway, good on CBS for giving the Champions League the respect it deserves. Here’s hoping the quarterfinals and semifinals both have matches on cable too.