Turner Wins U.S. Men’s, Women’s Soccer Broadcasting Rights, Select Matches to Stream Exclusively on HBO Max
US Soccer has a new broadcast home — Turner Sports.
As part of a new eight-year deal, TNT/TBS and HBO Max will be the exclusive English-language home to more than 20 Women’s and Men’s National Team soccer matches each year. The new agreement is set to begin in 2023 and will feature matches on TNT or TBS with streaming on HBO Max.
TNT or TBS will televise approximately half of those matches — all simulcast on HBO Max — with the remaining matches being exclusive to the rapidly growing streaming platform.
This would be HBO Max’s first telecast of live sports in the U.S. While they stream live sports in Latin America and have NHL streaming rights in the U.S., they have not yet broadcast any NHL games to HBO Max.
Yesterday, it was reported that, Turner Broadcasting had won the rights to U.S. Soccer, bringing the beautiful game back to Turner’s airwaves for the first time since it opted out of its Champions League deal in 2020. This agreement would include games for both the USMNT and the USWNT.
Hearing Turner is getting the US Soccer Federation English-language TV rights.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) February 28, 2022
This deal would not cover the upcoming World Cup — which will be broadcast in the U.S. on Fox and Telemundo — but would include World Cup qualifiers, friendlies, and competitions like the SheBelieves Cup.
Once confirmed, Turner’s TNT and TBS (and TruTV during March Madness), will be major broadcast homes for the NBA, men’s college basketball, the NHL, golf, Major League Baseball, and soccer; a formidable group of sports to move into the next era of broadcasting.
Live sports are just about the only thing that entices viewers to watch broadcast or cable channels live, as evidenced by the fact that last year 95 of the top 100 broadcasts were sporting events, which in turn entices advertisers who want to reach said viewers.
While Turner doesn’t have any football rights, which are truly the kingmakers in 2022, they boast the best basketball coverage in the world, a wildly-entertaining hockey product, and now rights to a fast-growing sport in soccer.
Wahl also brings up a good point regarding Turner’s production, saying that the company needs to bring in more professionals who understand the sport.
If Turner wants to do a better broadcast for US Soccer than it did for Champions League, it needs to hire producers who have a proven track record in soccer. The on-air talent for Turner’s UCL wasn’t the problem.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) February 28, 2022
It’s clear that Turner knows how to find broadcasters who “get” the sports that they’re covering, just look at their basketball and hockey coverage. Finding individuals who understand soccer should be easy as long as they continue to follow the formula that has made their other sports coverage so compelling.