Turner and UEFA, the governing body of European football, today announced a three-year multi-platform rights agreement for the exclusive presentation of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League beginning with the 2018-19 season. Timed to this multi-year rights agreement, Turner has also announced plans to launch a new standalone premium sports streaming video service with the expansive collection of UEFA matches serving as a core pillar of the direct to consumer offering. The new OTT sports platform will debut in 2018.
Terms of the UEFA agreement:
- Turner will be the exclusive media partner in the United States for English-language coverage of two of the most popular sporting events in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football.
- Turner will present more than 340 UEFA matches per season across the company’s television and digital platforms.
- Matches will be offered direct to consumers through Turner’s newly-created premium OTT sports platform. Additionally, Bleacher Report – the leading digital destination for millennial sports fans – will serve as a portal to the OTT service and the live UEFA matches offered through the new platform.
- Live matches will also be regularly televised across TBS, TNT and/or truTV throughout the length of the deal.
As part of Turner and UEFA’s mutual goal to maximize world football’s rising popularity in the U.S., the new agreement includes opportunities to distribute UEFA content across a wide variety of Turner platforms. Bleacher Report, in particular, will also provide extensive, year-long UEFA clips and original content – shoulder and ancillary programming – across its full suite of millennial-focused owned and operated products and its popular accounts on various social media platforms (including the BRFootball social presence on Snap, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).
“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 David Levy, President, Turner. “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.”
“Through this new agreement, Turner Sports is further expanding our portfolio with championship-caliber content featuring two of the most popular sporting events in the world,” said Lenny Daniels, President, Turner Sports. “We believe world football is one of the most impactful growth properties in the U.S. Our shared vision with UEFA has led to the perfect opportunity to leverage the reach of Turner as we establish deeper connections with fans, while simultaneously creating new business ventures for our company.”
Turner’s UEFA Champions League coverage will include four live telecasts each week throughout the Group Stage (September through early December) – Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET – and two televised matches per week during the Knockout Phase (beginning in February) – Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m. ET. All other matches will be available live through Turner’s new OTT sports platform launching in 2018, including direct access to the premium streaming service via Bleacher Report.
All semifinal matches, along with the UEFA Champions League final, will be nationally televised on TBS or TNT. UEFA Europa League matches will be available through Turner’s premium OTT sports platform – including access via Bleacher Report – with the UEFA Europa League final to be televised on TBS or TNT.
Turner will also televise the UEFA Super Cup on TBS or TNT, an exhibition match showcasing the winner from the previous year’s UEFA Champions League against the winner of that same year’s UEFA Europa League, beginning in 2018.
The launch of Turner’s sports OTT platform is part of the company’s growing portfolio of direct to consumer offerings including FilmStruck and Boomerang.