Updated 07:51 AM EDT, Sat, Apr 10, 2021

Fox Sports Wins Broadcast Rights to UEFA Champions League

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Sports Business Daily's reports that Fox Sports won the bid for retaining the English-language and Spanish-language telecast rights to UEFA Champions League.

Fox's bid fell short of the $100 million UEFA was seeking for broadcasts rights and significantly below the $83 million per year NBC Sports paid for the English-language and Spanish-language to air English Premier League games, according to Sports Business Daily's John OurandUEFA Champions League games averaged 334,000 viewers last season across Fox Soccer, FX and Fox platforms.

Fox Sports' deal comes on the heels of attaining the rights to Germany's Bundesliga matches beginning with the 2015-2016 season, adding to their soccer programming portfolio that also includes UEFA qualifying matches for Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2022 FIFA World Cup.

"We are elated to continue our partnership with UEFA and serve as home of its flagship properties through at least 2018," said David Nathanson, general manager and COO of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2.  "The combination of UEFA Champions and Europa leagues provides viewers with the complete club competition experience at the highest level. The fact that all the leading European teams and players continue to be seen on one destination speaks to FOX Sports' commitment to showcase the world's best.  No other sports television franchise has an elite international soccer schedule that even comes close."

ESPN did not submit a bid for the UEFA Champions League's broadcast rights but will look into sublicensing games to air on their platforms, much like their deal they recently signed with Fox Sports in November to air UEFA Champions League games, including the semi-finals and finals, on ESPN Deportes Radio.

The next major soccer package broadcast deal that is up for grabs is Major League Soccer (MLS) / United States Soccer Federation, whose rights with ESPN and NBC expire at the end of the 2014 season. MLS, whose rights are bundled with the US Soccer Federation, has opened up their exclusive negotiating window with ESPN and NBC but the league may decide to keep their options open rather than renew their current deals considering they are one of very few major sports properties whose broadcast options are available for bidding..

The broadcast rights to the United States men's national soccer team's games could be a tempting prize for Fox Sports as they look to expand their soccer coverage as well as platforms such as Google and Netflix, who are always looking for opportunities to expand their online content.

"Any time there are multiple bidders, there are emerging technologies and there seems to be an insatiable appetite for live entertainment that bodes well for those in the sports space," said David M. Carter, a principal at the Los Angeles-based Sports Business Group and Executive Director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute.

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