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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


BT Wins Champions League Rights In UK; What It Means To BPL Reps & What Will Happen In The USA

Written by on November 10, 2013 | 14 Comments »
Posted in Money Game, UEFA Champions League

Over the weekend, it was confirmed that BT had purchased the exclusive UK media rights to the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League for three seasons starting in 2015/16.

The price was a whopping $1.44B which is an increase of… to read more please click on the link.

14 responses to “BT Wins Champions League Rights In UK; What It Means To BPL Reps & What Will Happen In The USA”

  1. Smiley says:

    I assume the ever-increasing fee for UCL broadcasting rights is well worth the ROI from advertisers … if you know how to sell commercial spots.

    As for US broadcasting rights, anyone but FOX Soccer and their Barton/Stone muppets… please! I responded to the US Invitation to Submit Offer, offering to pay Platini .99 cents for each CL match I stream from my 32 bit laptop… waiting on his reply.

  2. Astronomer says:

    While I applaud and appreciate what Fox and NBC have been doing with their recent extensive forays into the realm of international soccer coverage here in the US, I would still like to see ESPN back in the mix with an acquisition of a major product (the CL rights, for example).

    I have always appreciated what ESPN has done in this country in terms of broadcasting international soccer since circa 1994 and I fully and wholeheartedly credit that network for making the sport popular here in the US since that time.

    It has to be kept in mind that in those early years after the big dance of 1994, ESPN was the only non-Spanish broadcaster that consistently showed some soccer here in this country. The other major broadcasters used to look at soccer with conspicuous disdain.

    I would add that at present among the major networks, only CBS still harbors those outdated negative views about soccer.

    So, for reasons of gratitude alone, I would like to see ESPN back in the thick of things soon with a broadcasting deal for one of the major properties (be it the CL or the EPL or something similar).


  3. John Bladen says:

    Football rights fees are very much following in the “north american” sport vein. Networks/channels seem to believe they have to have the property, regardless whether they can possibly make any net earnings on the product, as a matter of prestige.

    Football as the must have fashion accessory. Hmph.

    Bobby: Why do you say the fallout from the coming negotiations could be “very bad” for MLS? I understand why it might drive up their rights fees (if only marginally by major league standards). If you believe it might leave them with either no partner at all or a significant drop in rights fees, I’m interested to know why?

    As for Canada… do you think CBC might try and salvage it’s sporting division by bidding for something (other than the ‘world curling tour’, of course).

  4. John Bladen says:


    Agreed, ESPN did sterling service to the game in North America. I know their on air talent was sometimes a concern to some (I never had a major issue with it… all networks hire twit analysts from time to time…), but they did the heavy lifting to get CL and the like a foothold in North America.

  5. Carmelo Gabriele says:

    I must admit the fact that BT & SKY have won media rights in the UK does not necessarily affect me a great deal (I live in St.Louis) however it is very interesting cause it begins to set market trends & precedents for upcoming deals. The fact that the Champions League as proven to be marketing force is no surprise to anyone who follows the sport & its connection with media rights. However Sky & BT have considerably upped the ante with this deal & I am slightly surprised because English TV viewers are generally not that excited about watching Champions League matches that do not include English teams. I believe the average English football fan in front of the tele to be more like a Neil Warnock & Alan Brazil than a James Richardson or a Jonathan Wilson. One really interesting side effect to the BT coverage of the Champions League to English viewers is that they might get to enjoy on-air work by Jonathan Wilson or James Richardson, or even the comedic relief of Barry Glenndenning

    I am hoping & praying that NBCSN purchases the rights to air the Champions league in the USA. They have shown great commitment & an excellent ability to hire talent & show the Premier League in the American market with the proper respect for viewers that have followed European football for years & “potential” newly initiated viewers young boys & girls & other American fans. For my money, ESPN is & as been ONLY concerned with numbers of viewers (they bloody should be, they’re a corporation that needs to turn a profit) when that happens you structure your talent & your time allocations accordingly. ESPN is all in with the NFL & the NBA that’s due to obvious TV statistics in America. I am not saying that ESPN is wrong, I am simply stating with they’re business model my favorite sport & one of my passions will not get the proper amount of resources, time allocations & on air talent resources considering the almost unlimited funds & power that ESPN can wield. It is very sad to see the great Max Bretos whither away at ESPN. ESPN as decided to put all they’re chips in the Brazil World Cup coverage and they’ll do it right because they bloody have to, with that much money & they have been really getting ready for the Brazil World Cup…

    I have been so so happy with the job NBCSN as done. very very nicely done by the on-air talent. I have been completely won over by the best play-by-play voice in the market right now for my money, Arlo White. he as been brilliant. the Tim Howard was not very good in my book. But other than that he as been
    superb. Rebecca Lowe as been brilliant, absolutely brilliant…

    NBC Sports sent out a release last week that reported 12 million viewers had tuned into its Premier League coverage through last Friday, up 82 percent from this point last year (6.6 million on ESPN/ESPN2 and Fox Soccer). The most-watched game was Arsenal-Liverpool on NBC, which drew 991,000 viewers. AMAZING considering they compete on Saturday morning in America with college football, the tough early morning hours & let’s face it some of us struggle to wake up after too many pints on Friday night…

    I am hoping FSC lose the rights to the Champions League, what a joke they have become… utterly pathetic lately. I do like the work from Brian McBride lately but Barton, Wynalda, etc. woeful

    On a side note I really really miss: Richard Keys & Andy Gray… I would get up sometimes just to catch them on I do miss they’re voices…

  6. Carmelo says:

    I want to correct myself BT & BskyB are 2 very different entities. in my previous comment I mis-represented that relationship…

  7. Rob says:

    If NBC presents the European Cup as they do the Premiership, then I, too, want them to get it. Bobby if NBC does get the CL hopefully they’ll bring you on board. Us in NA, desperately need someone with your wealth of knowledge explaining the game.

    Carmelo-Gonna be tough to bring those two back. Sexism isn’t something taken lightly these days and did you see them a few years back trying to give a report from a park bench?

  8. Ed Gomes says:

    I agree with most that FOX has done an awful job with their Champions and Europa Leagues coverage. For some reason they expect people to pay extra for FOX Soccer Plus and don’t televise enough games. Why not show replays overnight so people could at least DVR the matches? A ton of Chanel’s yet not every game is shown. You would figure this being their only soccer feature, they would put a but more into it.
    If anything, with the FS1 creation, they’ve gone away from soccer and are trying to go mainstream.

    As for NBC I’m shocked at how well they’ve covered the BPL. Plenty of match coverage and not afraid to put a featured match on NBC on Saturdays or Sundays.

    Don’t underestimate BeinTV. The last thing I wanted was to add another bill, but I miss Serie A and La Liga.

    Having two power players bidding fir the MLS doesn’t really matter. Both power players will be bidding for higher profile products. Let me just say that I still haven’t gone to an MLS match, Red Bull Stadium is an easy commute, but more and more of my friends and acquaintances that have never followed soccer are going.
    I always thought that my generation, I’m 45, was really into sports and played a variety of them. So much so that many of us still play in leagues or open gyms or pick up games. So when our kids are now playing, I’ve seen the ease in which parents are picking up a sport and enjoying it.
    It’s come a long way from when a trip to Nevada Smiths for a World Cup match was as much for the fun if it as to the match itself.

  9. Ed Gomes says:

    Bobby, I wanted to mention something as too TV rights. In Portugal, Benfica TV purchased the rights for the BPL and the Brasilian League. That’s significant since viewership ($’s) have increased substantially. BenficaTV also televises Benfica’s home and all Cup matches, and they’ve also signed the same deal with a small club in the 2nd division.
    Portugal is a soccer crazy but small nation, so the numbers aren’t huge. But it brings a lot into question. If BenficaTV signs on a few more clubs and they make it onto the SuperLiga or if they don’t, collusion comes into play. Loan deals, transfers all have to be carefully looked into.
    Also, if Real see this as a successful platform, why wouldn’t they do the same? The BPL frowned upon in Spain?
    Why wouldn’t ArsenalTV sign on La Liga?

    As a Benfica fan, I’m glad additional revenue steams have come into the club. As a futebol fan, these type of deals concern me.

  10. John Bladen – very bad; if someone blows a lot of money on CL it may take them out of contention for MLS and that might lower the bids. Remember there are two MLS packages up at the end of 2014.
    CBC – very hard to justify broadcasting a European competition especially as it would disrupt their afternoon schedule – cannot see an interest from CBC.

  11. Rob says:

    Bobby-Do you see the USA’s best striking partnership being Johansson and Altidore? Or is the US better going with one or the other? I thinkthe former and I also think JK is holding off on showing the world that until the WC rolls around.

  12. Smiley says:

    Johansson has thus far only participated in 2-3 meaningless matches where he played a maximum 45 mins… however much talent/potential he has displayed in Eredivisie.

    USA will be one of the weaker sides in the WC and it would be somewhat naive to deploy two all out CFs right off the bat.

  13. Rob says:

    Naive? Why would it be naive IF he is one of your best players, the manager prefers a possession game AND the weakest part of your team is the defense?

    I think it would be naive to not play him IF he is one of your best players.

  14. Not seen enough Johansson to make comment I am afraid.

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