ESPN, ESPN Deportes Pick Up Rights To UEFA Champions League Matches
ESPN has reached a multimedia rights sublicense agreement with FOX Sports Media Group to carry a select package of UEFA Champions League matches across ESPN media platforms starting this fall with the 2014-15 season, through the 2017-18 season.
The sublicense agreement grants ESPN Deportes exclusive Spanish-language rights to 72 matches including the playoff round, group stage and knockout phase. The Spanish-language sports network will carry the Champions League Final and the UEFA Super Cup for the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons, alternating with FOX Deportes who will continue to carry these events in the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons. To complement the television coverage, ESPN Deportes Radio, the only around-the-clock Spanish-language sports radio network, will continue broadcasting the entire tournament through the 2017-18 season. The matches will be available on ESPN Deportes Radio Network and via audio streaming.
Under the agreement, ESPN Deportes will continue to be the exclusive Spanish-language TV home of the UEFA Europa League in the U.S. through the 2017-18 season.
The deal includes non-exclusive rights to present live, English-language coverage of up to68 matches on ESPN3 – eight matches from the playoff round and 60 from the group stage. In addition, ESPN also acquires replay rights to select matches for its digital and on-demand platforms, after FOX Sports has made its exclusive selections.
Live access to ESPN’s matches in English and Spanish will be available on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices. ESPNFC.com and the ESPN FC app will also feature the live matches on WatchESPN.
“We are delighted to have the UEFA Champions League back on ESPN. This is a great opportunity to continue engaging avid soccer fans and inviting in new ones after the unprecedented success of the World Cup in Brazil,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president of programming. “We are pleased to work with FOX Sports to deliver the world’s most prestigious club soccer tournament and we look forward to showcasing some of the sport’s best players and most important clubs.”
In addition to the matches, ESPNFC.com, the ESPN FC app and ESPNdeportes.com will deliver complete coverage of the tournament through video highlights, news and analysis. ESPN FC – the company’s multi-language, multi-country and multi-platform soccer property – offers fans comprehensive coverage of soccer across the world. The property’s digital hub, ESPNFC.com, is the number one soccer-specific site in the U.S. It also has a TV presence via ESPN FC, a daily global soccer news and information program on ESPNEWS.
ESPN and ESPN Deportes’ coverage of the UEFA Champions League kicks off August 19 and 20 with matches from the playoff round, followed by the group stage that begins in mid-September. The UEFA Champions League matches take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the season.
A total of 32 teams play in the Group Stage: 22 teams that enter in this stage plus the 10 winners of the playoff round (five in Champions Route, five in League Route). The 22 teams have already automatically entered the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League’s Group Stage with the remaining slots to be defined through qualifying which are played between June and August.