U.S. broadcast rights for the Champions League are changing hands.
Turner Sports has reportedly won the bidding for English-language rights, while Univision has won Spanish-language rights. Fox previously held rights in both languages. The news was first reported by World Soccer Talk and then confirmed by Sports Business Daily.
Per SBD, Turner will pay $60 million a year for three years, beginning in fall 2018 and stretching through spring 2021.
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.
ESPN did not bid on the Champions League, according to SBD, though the streaming company BAMTech submitted a bid that would have placed major games on ESPN channels. BAMTech’s bid suggests a future in which tech giants, not networks, control rights to sporting events, as is increasingly the case with movies and television shows.
As for Spanish-language rights, Univision reportedly beat out only a token bid from NBC (which owns Telemundo). Fox and ESPN declined to bid, per SBD.
But the big news here is that Turner is widening its sports empire. The company already owns rights to the NBA, the MLB Playoffs and March Madness, and now it’s adding soccer to its portfolio.