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Paramount Global Retains U.S. Rights to UEFA Champions League Until 2030 for $1.5 Billion, Keeps on Paramount+

Jeff Kotuby

The week of major sports media rights deals continues with news that Paramount Global successfully retained the U.S. rights to the UEFA Champions League.

According to Bloomberg, the deal will pay over $1.5 billion over the next six years, which is more than double the previous rights deal’s amount. UEFA originally wanted $2 billion for its American broadcast rights, but that was under the assumption that multiple potential partners would emerge. While names like Amazon, ESPN, NBC, Apple, FOX, and even Warner Bros. Discovery were rumored to make a run at the rights, Paramount ended up keeping the rights from 2024 to 2030.

Paramount is betting on continued growth for soccer in the U.S. According to Bloomberg, last season’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool attracted 2.8 million viewers on CBS in May, the largest U.S. audience ever for a final game broadcast on English-language television. It also happened to be the largest streaming audience for a match on Paramount+.

With so much soccer content already available on Paramount’s streaming service, it’s clear that the Champions League will serve as the franchise player for Paramount Global’s digital and linear strategy alongside the NFL for years to come.

This summer has been a busy and expensive stretch for sports rights. This week, the Big Ten Conference announced its new rights deal with longtime partner Fox while also adding CBS and NBC to the mix. In June, Apple and Major League Soccer agreed to a 10-year rights deal that would show every single MLS match on Apple TV+. The financials of that deal came in at the same yearly total as the UEFA deal ($250 million) but is a longer term at 10 years as opposed to just six.

ESPN also added the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 tournament to its offerings and aired all 75 hours of the event across broadcast and digital.

The recurring theme here is that sports, more than anything else, are worth their weight in broadcast gold. Sports are the last bastion of hope for broadcasting entities looking to bring in attractive ad revenue because, outside of key political events, they’re the only thing that viewers are consistently tuning into in real-time anymore.

In 2021, 95 of the top 100 broadcasts were sports-related, and while you’ll notice that there’s not much soccer on that list, it’s a growing sport that is attracting many more eyes domestically.

Also, as sports betting gets legalized in more states, the need for more easily-accessible sports content becomes apparent. Enter the world of soccer, where pundits across the ocean can provide betting tips to sports fans stateside and create a whole new ecosystem surrounding soccer. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the Champions League has the highest stakes of all soccer tournaments, which makes for some compelling content.

Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 40,000+ TV show episodes from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and more. The lineup includes “1883,” “Tulsa King,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and MTV’s “Laguna Beach.” From well-loved franchises to compelling originals, Paramount+ offers a great library worth streaming. Live NFL games are included. The service also offers the option to watch your live CBS affiliate.

Subscribers can choose between the Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with the Premium Plan for $9.99/month. Subscribers can add Showtime to either plan for an additional fee.

With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time lineup, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.

With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate.

With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.

The service was previously called CBS All Access.

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